Baton Rouge, LA: Clark Creek Natural Area

This strenuous, 4.7-mile loop links a string of remote waterfalls and rocky coves tucked into the inner reaches of Clark Creek Natural Area.
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This strenuous, 4.7-mile loop links a string of remote waterfalls and rocky coves tucked into the inner reaches of Clark Creek Natural Area.

More than 40 waterfalls pepper the Clark Creek Natural Area, making it a prime locale for ultra-scenic Mississippi hiking. This strenuous lollipop loop follows a rough-and-tumble trail through a series of leg-burning ascents and equally sharp descents. From the trailhead, descend a gravel path, heading southwest through hardwood forest. After 0.4 mile, bear left at the Y-junction to start the loop on a primitive trail. Over the next 3.8 miles, the trail passes through remote stretches where you'll spot waterfalls pouring into rocky coves. At times, the trail traces the streambed, ascends wooded hills, and reveals views of the surrounding countryside. The hike culminates at the base of 2 waterfalls: One is a 25-foot cascade that drips into a rocky alcove; the second is a set of three 25-foot falls that pour into a semi-circular cove. At mile 4.3, the route reconnects with Waypoint 2 and winds back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Marcus Woolf

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.6

Waypoints

CLA001

Location: 31.07171, -91.5117681

At the west side of the parking area, descend a gravel path, heading southwest through hardwood forest.

CLA002

Location: 31.0682179, -91.5167972

Bear left onto the primitive trail @ Y-junction and head south. Ahead, cross a stream, then begin a steep climb.

CLA003

Location: 31.064468, -91.518847

The trail passes through a remote area where, to the right, a waterfall pours into a semi-circular cove. Next, follow the trail to the southwest.

CLA004

Location: 31.0573733, -91.5183663

Look down and to the right: A thin waterfall drops 30 feet into a cove of dense brush and trees. The base of the falls is not easily accessible due to the steep terrain that surrounds the trail.

CLA005

Location: 31.0565921, -91.5191817

The trail follows the streambed for the next 1,000 feet.

CLA006

Location: 31.0559671, -91.522969

Turn right (northwest) and climb away from the streambed.

CLA007

Location: 31.063495, -91.522875

A small, wooden shelter sits on this hilltop. In winter, views of wooded hills stretch to the eastern horizon.

CLA008

Location: 31.0668693, -91.5246722

Turn right at Clark Creek and briefly head north/northeast. In 50 feet, turn left at the confluence of two creek channels, and walk north along the streambed.

CLA010

Location: 31.070247, -91.523922

Bear right (northeast) and climb the wooden stairs to the right, leaving the streambed.

CLA011

Location: 31.068608, -91.520796

Bear left @ Y-junction, and hike east on the wide path flanked by open hardwood forest.

CLA012

Location: 31.0679835, -91.5191817

Bear right @ Y-junction and descend to a set of wooden steps. Continue down the steps to access the base of the waterfall.

CLA013

Location: 31.0663386, -91.5187499

Stand at the base of the 25-foot falls that drip into a rocky alcove. Return to Waypoint 12 and turn right.

CLA014

Location: 31.0679675, -91.518023

Turn right @ 3-way junction and follow the trail to another set of wooden steps. Descend the steps to reach the base of three 25-foot falls that pour into a semi-circular cove.

CLA015

Location: 31.0669451, -91.5180981

Snap some photos at the base of these falls, then turn around and return to Waypoint 14. At the T-junction, turn right. In 450 feet, continue straight @ the 3-way junction (Waypoint 2) and follow the same route back to the trailhead.

Streambed

Location: 31.0669635, -91.5245676

View of the Falls

Location: 31.0671059, -91.5180498

Base of the Falls

Location: 31.0669405, -91.5180498