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There's more to the Louisiana's deep South than swamps and Cajun food.
Contact Information: Kisatchie National Forest Kisatchie Ranger District Box 2128 Natchitoches, LA 71457 318/352-2568Location: Kisatchie National Forest is in western Louisiana, about 150 miles northwest of Baton Rouge and 40 miles northwest of Alexandria.
Getting There: Take I-49 to the Derry exit. Travel five miles south on State Hwy. 119 to the intersection with the Longleaf Trail Scenic Byway.
Seasonal Information: Go in late March or early April for dogwoods, wild azaleas, and other flowers, or fall to avoid hot, humid summer weather. In the spring and fall, temperatures are mild ~ in the 70s and 80s.
It can rain anytime in Louisiana, so be prepared. Unless you have current weather information, don't camp in the bottoms because a thunderstorm can raise water levels precipitously.
Wildlife: You might see beavers, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, otters, raccoons, ring-tailed cats, skunks, squirrels, owls, deer, wild turkeys, and armadillos.
Insects: Ticks are common, but mosquitoes are not as prevalent as in some parts of the state.
Plant Life: The Caroline Dormon Trail passes through pine woods, wax myrtle, and French mulberries. After a while, the trail dips into a lower area where hardwood trees dominate ~ beeches, oaks, hickories, gums, and magnolias mix with loblolly pines. Looking down from the multicolored fall foliage of the gum trees, you can see white mushrooms the size of pancakes.
Wildflowers such as coreopsis, sunflowers, and wild azalea thrive along trails. And the Caroline Dorman Nature Preserve boasts Louisiana iris, shadow-witch orchid, orange fringed orchid, white fringed orchid, bog orchid, and white buckeye.
Parking: Contact park office for information.
Permits: Permits are required for large groups only.
Policies: No motorized equipment or bicycles permitted.
Leave No Trace: Contact park office for information.
All LNT guidelines apply.
Maps: Forest Service handouts are sufficient. If you plan to hike in the wilderness area, specifically request the wilderness trail map. A more detailed map is available for $3.
Other Trip Options: