Best Places to hike in New Orleans, Louisiana
Hiking in New Orleans is a great idea when the temperature gets just right, not too hot or cold. Going on a day hike near New Orleans is a great way to spend your visit. For the uninitiated, a day hike means you will not need to spend the night on the trail. Since New Orleans doesn’t have mountains, the usual hiking destinations are easy trails perfect for casual hikers and beginners.
New Orleans is a lively city not known for hiking. The city is most famous for delectable dishes, rich culture and history, jazz music, and even the local party scene. Nevertheless, it does not mean that New Orleans is not an excellent destination for people who love the outdoors. Travelers and tourists looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city will enjoy the many hiking spots in this beautiful city.
The Big Easy has fantastic hiking trails, perfect for family and friends looking to have a great time outdoors. As previously mentioned, the absence of mountains in this city means that most of the trails are easy, but this doesn’t mean that expert hikers will not have fun. The hiking trails that can be explored in New Orleans are perfect for everyone, including hikers of all skill levels.
New Orleans Hikes and Trails
The hiking trails in New Orleans are guaranteed to give anyone a peek at the spectacular scenery of wildlife and nature. The plethora of easy trails with little to no elevation awaits people who want a different city experience. If you are searching for recommendations on the must-visit hiking trails in and around New Orleans, check out the locations featured in this post.
Audubon Nature Center
Location: Lake Forest Blvd, New Orleans, LA
Trail Length: 1.9 miles
The Audubon Nature Center was closed to the public for several years due to the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina. It has since reopened and features trails perfect for beginners and serious hikers. When you get here, you will notice that the paths differ in design and length, so it will be up to you which best suits your preference.
Expect the paths to have dirt and dried leaves, so if you happen to go there just right after a rain, you would be better off walking on the boardwalk. There is also a 1.9-mile loop in the park, ideal for biking and walking. This trail is recommended for anyone who wants cardio exercise while not doing anything too extreme.
Barataria Preserve at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Location: Barataria Blvd., Marrero, LA
Trail Length: 8 miles
Before anything else, the first thing you should know before coming to the Barataria Preserve at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park is to never approach or come near the wildlife. The preserve is located south of New Orleans and is home to some of Louisiana’s best trails. There are plenty of options for hikers in this park, from boardwalks to dirt trails. It is advisable to bring your camera with you to take some snaps of the wildlife and scenery. You can spot birds and alligators here, so always be ready to take photos.
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Ridge Trail
Location: Chef Menteur Highway, New Orleans, LA
Trail Length: 0.75-mile boardwalk loop
The trail at the Bayou Sauvage NWR is ideal for families and friends who want to go on a picnic. Incidentally, besides being an excellent spot for hikers who want a shorter and more relaxing trail, the Bayou Sauvage is also an ideal place for birdwatching. You can see more than 350 species of local and migratory birds, so it would be best to bring binoculars if you are interested in seeing the different birds in more detail.
Bayou Sauvage’s 0.75-mile boardwalk trail goes through locations that feature marshes and wetlands. The refuge was severely devastated by Hurricane Katrina and is still in rehabilitation and recovery. Nonetheless, it remains one of the destinations that first come to mind for anyone looking for a quick escape from the city’s busy streets.
Tickfaw State Park
Location: Patterson Road, Springfield, LA
Trail Length: 4.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Fees: $3 per person
If you are willing to travel a little further but within reasonable distance to New Orleans, you will find Tickfaw State Park a worthwhile visit. Located just an hour’s drive from the Big Easy, the park features stunning scenery and ecosystems that can be seen while traversing the 4.5-mile trail. One of the park’s popular attractions is the suspension bridge that follows a dirt path leading to the river and forest.
Park visitors can witness a hardwood forest, the Tickfaw River, and a swamp while traversing the trails. The park’s beauty is its interconnected trails, so you can decide how far you’d like to hike with your friends and family.
Location: Harrison Ave., New Orleans, LA
Trail Length: 1.1-mile loop
The Couturie Forest is a 60-acre breather from the busy life in the city. People who want an easy trail will find the Couturie Forest in City Park a great option. The forest is probably one of the most accessible trails and does not lack spectacular scenery that anyone would enjoy. If you’re lucky, you can even chance upon waterfowl and songbirds in the area. The Couturie Forest is also NOLA’s highest point, so if you want some elevation during your hike, this is the best option.
If you are looking for other things to do at Couturie Forest after hiking on the trail, you can try fishing and birdwatching. The place also allows pets inside, so you can bring your dogs when you visit here.
Location: Lennox Blvd., New Orleans, LA
Trail Length: N/A
Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Fees: $1-$2 per person
Brechtel Park is recommended for anyone who enjoys walking a trail near fishing lagoons. The area’s cold breeze and relaxing mood are perfect for people who want to enjoy some quiet time while having some physical exercise. The park was renovated just recently, so you’ll most likely see fresh trails. There are varying lengths of paths in the area, so feel free to choose which routes you’d like to hike and traverse.
You won’t find many signs in the park that display trail information, so it would be advisable to check out a map before you proceed with your hike. While there are not many signs in the area, do not fear getting lost because the park is small, so you’ll indeed find your way back. For the best experience, make sure to hike with your closest friends and family at Brechtel Park.
Woodlands Conservancy Trail
Location: Edward Hebert Blvd., Belle Chasse, LA
Trail Length: 1.1 miles (Upland Trail) and 6 miles (Bottomland Trail)
Difficulty: Medium to Hard
This trail may be the only one on this list with no easy path. The Woodlands Conservancy Trail is perfect for serious hikers who want a more challenging route. This place is widely known for its winding paths and rich history. If you choose to hike on the Bottomland Trail, you can find relics such as ammunition from World War II.
The trails on this popular destination have varying difficulty and lengths, all suited for hikers with higher skill levels. You can expect a dirt path when you hike here, so wear clothes you are comfortable getting muddy or dirty.
New Orleans Hiking Guide: The Essentials
Those new to hiking near New Orleans might have little idea about what should be brought for this activity. It does not matter which of the New Orleans trails you choose; you will need the same hiking essentials for your trip. Learning what to bring for your hike can save you from unnecessary trouble and inconveniences that you may encounter. This guide will also discuss what you should wear for a New Orleans hiking activity.
It is important to dress for NOLA weather. Before heading out to the trail, check the weather forecast to prepare and wear clothing appropriate for the conditions. Since the weather changes abruptly in this region, bringing a light jacket with you would be advantageous.
Wearing shoes fit for hiking is critical when walking on trails. Those just beginning to hike should never take this advice for granted. You can quickly develop blisters on your feet if you are wearing uncomfortable footwear. Trail and hiking boots are ideal but not necessary. Well-cushioned running shoes are great and will work on walking on trails.
Enough Food and Water
Food and water are on top of the list of essential things to bring for your hike. Determining the amount of food to bring will depend on your hiking plans. If you are planning a short hike, bringing a few snacks would suffice, but for longer day hikes, you might need to bring full meals. As a general rule, it is better to overstock on food than having too few.
Knowing how much water to bring will also depend on the weather during your hike. If it’s too sunny and the temperature is higher than usual, you may need to bring extra water. A good guide in determining the amount of water you’ll need to take with you is bringing 500 ml of water for every hour you spend on a hike.
Going out on trails exposes you to the sun’s heat and bugs. It is highly advisable to bring and apply sunscreen lotion with you to protect yourself from the sun’s scorching heat. You can also opt to wear a long-sleeved top if you want another layer of protection. Do not forget to use insect repellent to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and other bugs.
Medicine and First-aid Kit
Do not forget to bring personal medications if you have any. It is also better to be prepared for unfortunate events, so make sure to bring a first-aid kit on the trail. Nobody wants to get bruised or injured during a hike. Since incidents that may cause harm are unforeseeable, having a first-aid kit with you when the need arises is crucial.
Navigation Devices and Tools
Getting lost when you hike near New Orleans won’t be enjoyable. While most local trails have plenty of trail signs and information, bringing a navigational tool with you would not hurt. A map, compass, or GPS device may come in handy on trails with few markings and signage.
These are just some things you should bring when hiking in New Orleans. Preparing when you go on trails with your family and friends helps lessen the risk of experiencing any hassle.
Hiking in New Orleans or near it is undoubtedly fun for anyone looking for a great outdoor experience. The abundance of beautiful trails and hiking spots is proof of the city’s rich biodiversity and well-developed parks and open spaces. Whether beginners or experts, hikers will have a great time walking on New Orleans’ trails.
Preparing during your hike is also necessary, so knowing what to bring when you traverse the city’s trails and paths will help ensure a fun and memorable time. Make sure you have all the essentials for your hiking trip to this city.
Head to New Orleans with your closest buddies and loved ones and enjoy a fun-filled day hike in the destinations featured in this post. Have a happy hiking trip, and enjoy NOLA!