Hiking in New Orleans can be a dream come true, as long as you know where to find what you’re looking for. From forests hidden smack dab in the middle of the city to state park trails that snake through the swamp, New Orleans hiking routes have a little bit of something for everyone.
If you’re looking to improve your mental and physical wellbeing this year, hiking can be a great solution. Being in nature can boost your mood, reduce stress, and broaden your sensory perception. Hiking also helps strengthen muscles and bones and improves your balance. It’s also a great opportunity to bond with others. Hitting the trail with someone is an excellent opportunity to strengthen your relationship.
Let’s check out some New Orleans hiking routes and see what makes each one unique.
Couturie Forest is a hidden gem, tucked away right in the middle of the city itself. The forest spans 60 acres and is home to native flora and fauna and gorgeous networks of waterways. It was named the top bird watching destination in the Crescent City, and a birder might easily observe at least 40 birds in one trip to the forest. The Forest is actually comprised of eight different ecosystems including Laborde Mountain, the city’s highest point of elevation, which clocks in at 43 feet. The forest offers a network of trails, which you can check out here.
There are actually two versions of this city trail, one on the West Bank and one on the East bank. The West Bank trail follows the river for 5.3 miles, and at Algiers Point, hikers a can catch a picturesque view of the French Quarter and downtown skyline. The East Bank trail spans 60 miles, beginning at Audobon Park and moving west to the Bonnet Carré Spillway in St. Charles Parish. It’s also known as the New Orleans Levee Top Trail. It was created as part of an effort to create a trail running along the entire length of the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana.
The 4 mile Barataria Trail winds through swamps, floating marshes, natural levee forests, and reams of ancient oaks. This loop trail is open year round and excellent for hikers of all skill levels. If you’re looking for wildlife, keep your eyes peeled: it’s not uncommon to spot alligators, deer, squirrels, and large snakes along the trail. All 1855 acres of the Barataria Preserve were added to the National Register of Historic places in 1966. The park is named after the pirate Jean Lafitte, and is located roughly 30 minutes outside of New Orleans in Jefferson Parish.
Northeast of New Orleans lies a lush marsh and wetland habitat that is considered the largest urban wildlife refuge in the United States. If you’re looking for a short, educational strut, an interpretive boardwalk loop trail covers ¾ of a mile with great views of bottomland hardwood forest and marsh habitats. If you’re up for the Ridge Trail, you can get in a 6.8 mile hike if you complete the entire one-way trail. Bayou Sauvage is home to brown and white pelicans, marsh rabbits, beaver, and of course, alligators (which visitors are not permitted to feed).
Located in Belle Chasse, Woodlands Conservancy Park features 5 miles of loop trails through one of the state’s last remaining coastal bottomland hardwood forests. Depending on your chosen route, you can spend nearly a third of your hike walking along the water. Egrets and alligators abound, as do snakes and armadillos. The park is also scattered with abandoned ammunition bunkers from World War II, which more adventurous hikers might be tempted to explore.
Hit The Trail With Us
Hiking in New Orleans is a special way to explore the natural wonders of the city and learn about the unique ecosystems right outside your doorstep. If you want to up your hiking game but don’t know where to start, contact us today.
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