Amid the pandemic, the Louisiana Office of Tourism’s Charlie Whinham shared an insight on how the DMO is moving forward: They’re promoting the outdoors, as it offers social distancing practices that fit well with smaller recommended group sizes.
“One overlooked gem is certainly the Kisatchie National Forest,” Whinham says of the place that, with 600,000 acres, is one of the largest protected lands in the state. “It’s packed with outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, birding, swimming, boating, hunting, and road and mountain bicycle riding. It’s located throughout portions of central and north Louisiana off Interstates 49 and 20.”
The grounds of the Kisatchie National Forest are sanctuaries where people can reconnect with nature. It is home to many old longleaf national pines, nicknamed “super trees” (some more than 200 years old), and visitors can look out for armadillo, wild turkey, deer, and Louisiana black bears that are known to roam the land. The Catahoula Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden is a tranquil spot to watch the forest’s fluttering residents.
The Wild Azalea Trail is nearly 24 miles of sectioned hiking, bursting with color in the spring. The Sugar Cane Trail, lined with wildflowers, winds around Caney Lake with varying terrain.
The Caroline Dormon Trail is popular among horseback riders, with designated horse trailer parking and easy access from the Longleaf Trail Byway that stretches 10.5 miles through the forest. The Hayes E. Daze Ranch’s guided horseback riding tours last up to three hours and are for all skill levels.
In all, the park has more than 100 miles of recreational trails.
Top photo: Scenic overlook at Kisatchie National Forest
Photo by Louisiana Office of Tourism