If you’re looking for scenic places to go hiking in Louisiana, you have come to the right place! While hiking may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the state, Louisiana offers plenty of beautiful trails to get in touch with nature.
Whether you are looking for a leisurely stroll by the coast or an exhilarating hike through swamplands filled with alligators, there are places to hike in Louisiana for everyone.
Discover lush bayous full of wildlife, expansive forests, and beautiful beaches while hiking in Louisiana. There is a reason Louisiana is often referred to as a sportsman’s paradise.
No matter if you are longing for a refreshing escape from The Big Easy, or looking to discover the best nature and wildlife the state has to offer, this list will help kickstart your hiking plans. Keep reading to discover the best places for hiking in Louisiana.
12 Scenic Trails for Hiking in Louisiana
Fontainebleau State Park
Located on the north shores of Lake Pontchartrain, Fontainebleau State Park offers some of the best hiking in Louisiana. The park is located just one hour from New Orleans, making it an easy day trip from the city.
Fontainebleau State Park has an interesting history. It is the site of an old sugar mill dating back to 1829 that was built by the founder of the nearby town of Mandeville, who named his landholding Fontaineblue after a forest outside of Paris.
Leading to the crumbling brick ruins of the mill, the 1.5 mile Sugar Mill Nature Trail is one of the most unique hiking trails in Louisiana. The Cane Bayou Trail is just over 4 miles, winding through the marsh along a boardwalk passing alligators and other fascinating wildlife along the way. The two trails share a trailhead and can easily be combined into one hike.
After an exciting day of exploring one of the most beautiful places to hike in Louisiana, stop to enjoy the sunset from the picturesque Fontainebleau Beach, a powdery white sand beach overlooking the stunning Lake Pontchartrain.
Barataria Preserve at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
Named after a prominent French pirate who sailed around the Gulf of Mexico in the early 19th century, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is home to some of the most abundant natural beauty, fascinating wildlife, and scenic trails for hiking in Louisiana.
The Barataria Preserve encompasses over 26,000 acres of swamps, bayous, wetlands that can be explored via a network of short, connected boardwalk and gravel nature trails. A popular hiking route is a combination of the Palmetto, Bayou Coquille, and Marsh Overlook trails.
Take a fascinating hike through the lush wilderness where alligators lurk beneath the water and over 200 species of birds and a diverse variety of plant life await to be discovered. The Barataria Preserve is home to some of the most beautiful nature trails in Louisiana and just 30 minutes away from New Orleans,making for an incredible getaway from the city.
Caroline Dorman Trail at Kisatchie National Forest
The Caroline Dorman Trail is a 10-mile trail that offers scenic views of the Kisatchie National Forest, the only national forest in Louisiana, and is one of the most beautiful trails for hiking in Louisiana. It is also one of the most popular hikes in the entire state.
The trail is named after the environmentalist who was the first woman employed in the forestry industry and worked to preserve the state’s natural resources. She also helped persuade the government to establish and protect the Kisatchie National Forest.
The Caroline Dorman Trail is a point-to-point trail, meaning it begins and ends in different places. You can choose to hike the trail in its entirety or hike a portion of it. This trail is one of the best Louisiana hikes for camping, so bring a tent along and break up the trek with a night of camping next to the Kisatchie Bayou.
Wild Azalea Trail at Kisatchie National Forest
If you’re looking for a serious adventure, the Wild Azalea Trail is for you! This 24-mile trail that winds through the Kisatchie National Forest is one of the longest hiking trails in Louisiana, but the scenic views are worth the trek.
The entire trail takes approximately 16 hours to hike, however, you can choose to hike small portions of the trail instead of the whole thing. The most beautiful time to hike the trail is during March and April when the wild azaleas that give the trail its name are blooming.
The trail begins just outside the town of Alexandria at the Valentine Lake Recreation Area and takes hikers through a variety of woodland ecosystems before finishing near the Woodworth Town Hall. If attempting one of the longest trails for hiking in Louisiana isn’t exciting enough, you can sign up to run the trail during the annual race.
Grand Isle State Park
Located 2 hours south of New Orleans on the Gulf Coast, is Grand Isle State Park, one of the best coastal areas for hiking in Louisiana. Rooted in pirate history, Grand Isle is a fascinating place for a weekend of hiking and enjoying the coastal views.
Many species of migratory birds make a stop on this island every year, making Grand Isle one of the best places to hike in Louisiana for bird watching. Visit during the annual Migratory Bird Festival for guided bird watching tours.
The Grand Isle Birding and Nature Trail is a two-mile round-trip trail that offers gorgeous coastal views and diverse wildlife sightings. The beach is also a lovely place for a hike. This coastal state park is a nature lover’s paradise and one of the most scenic places for hiking in Louisiana.
Lake Chicot State Park
Lake Chicot State Park is the largest state park in Louisiana. Serving up some of the most beautiful scenery in the state, Lake Chicot is one of the most scenic places for hiking in Louisiana!
Coming in at 24 miles, The Lake Chicot Loop Trail takes hikers on a journey around the lake, meandering through the forest, crossing emerald green swamp waters, and offering stunning views of the cypress swamp.
For an easier hike, consider a visit to the Louisiana State Arboretum located within the park. The Arboretum has 6 miles of easy trails to choose from and offers information and exhibits about the diverse species of plants.
Lake Chicot State Park has many trails to choose from for any skill level. Located just an hour from Lafayette, it is an easy destination for a day trip and one of the best places to hike in Louisiana.
Wetland Walkway at Sabine National Wildlife Refuge
Situated just 45 minutes south of Lake Charles in the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge is the Wetland Walkway, one of the most scenic and easily accessible hikes in Louisiana!
This 1.5-mile boardwalk trail is handicap accessible, making it a great option for everyone who appreciates nature. The boardwalk trail winds through the lush wetlands and offers opportunities to spot alligators in their natural habitat.
There is an observation tower at the end of the boardwalk trail where hikers can take in expansive views of the wetlands. The wetland walkway is one of the easiest and most scenic trails for hiking in Louisiana and is a perfect place for a leisurely day out for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.
Poverty Point World Heritage Site
This 3,000-year-old archeological site is one of the most interesting places for hiking in Louisiana. Poverty Point is the oldest and most mysterious attraction in the state and has been awarded the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an honor given to the likes of The Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu, and Pompeii.
Poverty Point World Heritage Site is the site of an ancient city where earthworks were created including a staggering 72-foot mound, an engineering marvel for the time. Artifacts found on the site indicate it was an ancient trading hub and ceremonial center.
The 2.6-mile boardwalk trail that winds around the earthworks and over the ancient mounds is one of the most unique hikes in Louisiana. Discover the mystery of this ancient wonder and marvel at the interesting scenery all while enjoying a leisurely hike.
Poverty Point World Heritage Site is located in the northeast corner of Louisiana, just a one hour drive from Monroe and a 2.5 hour drive from Shreveport.
Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area
One of the most beautiful and tranquil places for hiking in Louisiana, the Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area treats nature-lovers to lush forests, rolling hills, and even small waterfalls.
Situated right on the border of Louisiana and Mississippi just 1 hour north of Baton Rouge, Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area makes for a perfect day trip from the city for hiking and wildlife spotting.
There are four main trails to choose from in the area, ranging from an easy half-mile nature trail to challenging trails with deep ravines and steep drop-offs. Tunica Hills is one of the best places to hike in Louisiana during the fall when the trees explode with color.
Many people choose to combine their visit to Tunica Hills with a trip across the Mississippi border to Clark Creek Natural Area to explore even more hiking trails and waterfalls.
The Monkey Trail
The Monkey Trail, one of the most unique trails for hiking in Louisiana, is located 40 minutes outside of Shreveport in Eddie D. Jones Park but will make you wonder if you’ve been transported to the jungle.
The trail circles Chimp Haven, a chimpanzee sanctuary with over 200 acres for the rescued chimps to roam free. You can hear the sounds of the monkeys echoing through the trees as you make your way around the trail.
The Monkey Trail is a moderate 10-mile loop that is mostly flat but has some steep inclines and hills. This is not only one of the most scenic trails for hiking in Louisiana, but also an exciting trail for biking.
Couturie Forest at New Orleans City Park
You don’t have to venture far outside of the city to be immersed in nature! Located within New Orleans City Park in the heart of the city, Couturie Forest is one of the most easily accessible Louisiana hikes.
This 60-acre forest offers city-dwellers the opportunity to experience interesting wildlife, scenic waterways, and diverse plant species without ever leaving the city. Spend a few hours hiking the easy 1-mile loop trail, looking out for the many different types of birds along the way.
Couturie Forest is one of the most unexpected places for a beautiful day of hiking in Louisiana and the perfect place to get those steps in after indulging in the famous New Orleans Cuisine.
Tickfaw State Park
Located just one hour north of New Orleans and 45 minutes east of Baton Rouge, Tickfaw State park is a lovely destination for a day trip away from the city and one of the most beautiful state parks for hiking in Louisiana.
Tickfaw State Park contains over 12,000 acres, mostly consisting of swamplands, and has 7 different hiking trails to choose from. Much of the trails are boardwalks elevated above the swamps and are some of the most accessible nature trails in Louisiana.
The river loop trail is the most popular trail in the park and is a fairly leisurely hike at just over 2 miles long. This boardwalk and gravel trail shows off the most scenic views the park has to offer as it winds through the forest, above the cypress-tupelo swamp, and along the Tickfaw River.
Tickfaw State Park offers campsites and cabins which makes it a perfect destination for a weekend of camping, hiking, and canoeing down the Tickfaw River. After exploring one of the best places to hike in Louisiana, be sure to stop by the visitor center to learn about the park’s biodiversity.
Louisiana may not be well-known for its hiking trails, but outdoor enthusiasts can easily find exciting adventures all over the state if they know where to look. We hope this list of the most scenic trails for hiking in Louisiana has inspired you to explore all of the incredible natural beauty the state has to offer! For more Louisiana adventures, check out these interesting weekend getaways.