By the Region: Ten Perfect Places to Paddle Louisiana
Louisiana is about 52,000 square miles and about 15 percent is water—inland lakes and swamps, coastal marshlands, scenic small rivers, canals and bayous (slow moving streams). The best way to experience Louisiana’s waterways and the animals and plants that call them home is by canoe, kayak or paddleboard. Here are some ideal places to paddle your way throughout the state.
Dorcheat Bayou in Webster Parish is a short drive from Shreveport or Bossier City, and it offers great views of adjacent hardwood, cypress and tupelo forests. The best access points are around Dixie Inn and on La. Hwy. 2 near Sarepta.
Bayou Bartholomew’s 365-mile path from the middle of Arkansas through Louisiana is said to be the longest bayou in North America. For an abbreviated experience, try an eight mile path through Morehouse Parish that tours a 1,000-year-old cypress swamp. Keep your eyes peeled for “The Castle”, an impressive hollowed-out cypress tree.
Depending on seasonal water levels, Toro Creek in Sabine Parish offers easy to moderately difficult whitewater paddling. The fishing is excellent, so pack the rod and reel.
Kisatchie National Forest’s Kisatchie Bayou in Natchitoches Parish is a haven for paddling and connects hikers to the forest’s stunning scenic overlooks.
The Cajun Coast Paddling Trails are seven routes through 170,000 acres of designated wildlife management areas in St. Mary Parish. It is a must-do for paddlers who also enjoy birding.
Venture down one of the sites along the Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail, including Bayou Plaquemine in Iberville Parish. Paddle along the bayou that early Louisiana explorer Iberville wrote about in his journal around the late 1660s.
Tickfaw State Park near Springfield offers paddlers the opportunity to explore cypress and tupelo swamps, bottomland hardwoods and mixed pine and hardwood forests all on display for paddlers on the Tickfaw River.
The Bogue Chitto River near Franklinton, long known as a destination for south Louisiana river tubing, is also a great place for a serene trek by canoe.
For more information on these paddling trails, opportunities statewide and paddling outfitters to support your adventure, visit Louisiana’s official paddling webpage.