My Favorite Hike
By Amelia Eldridge
If you have read any other of my posts on this blog, you may have figured out that one of my favorite trips to lead for Outdoor Adventures is Watercolors on the Bayou, and it is in part due to my love of art and connecting with nature, but it is also because the hike takes place at one of my very favorite areas near New Orleans – Barataria Preserve!
Barataria Preserve – a short 40 minute drive from campus – is one of the six sites composing the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve here in Louisiana. This collection of parks and lands in the Mississippi Delta region are thought to have been first inhabited some 2,500 year ago by Indignous tribes such as Chitimacha and Houma. These groups had both permanent settlements as well as seasonal camps, and evidence of their ways of life can still be seen – for example along the Bayou Coquille Trail which starts at the site of “a pre-contact American Indian village”. It is also home to the stunning beauty and biodiversity of the Gulf South ecosystems.
Any opportunity I get, I love to take visitors and friends – like my friend Sabrina this weekend! – out to this amazing park. I have always been rewarded with stunning views of the swaps and marshes, as well as many encounters with creatures big and small – turtles, nutria, alligators, herons, eagles, owls, and snakes of all shapes and sizes, you name it!
About the hike:
- Entrance cost: Free!
- Favorite trails:
- Bayou Coquille Trail (0.5 mi) to Marsh Overlook Trail (0.4 mi)
- Palmetto Trail (0.9 mi)
- Tips and Tricks:
- It is best to go in the early morning, as louder visiting groups during the day can scare away some of the wildlife
- Parking at the start of the Bayou Coquille Trail (½ mile down the road from the visitors center parking) is a great way to escape some of the crowds!
- Don’t feed the alligators!
- Make sure you are watching the path/boardwalk in front of you – it is a favorite place for snakes to catch some rays, and you don’t want to startle them!
- Map and Info:
- This main page for the Barataria Preserve includes hours and days of operation, program listings, and other useful information
- The preserve’s trail map and trail descriptions show distances, trail types, picnic areas, restrooms, roads, and waterways and describe history, habitats, and what you may see on your walk.
- For special information during hot, humid weather including a hot weather safety map, follow the link.
- Want to check it out from home?: For an armchair “walk” along the Bayou Coquille and Marsh Overlook Trails via photos and phone, check out the Barataria Preserve Virtual Tour.
About the Author
Name: Amelia Eldridge
Year in School: Senior
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Anything in the water or in the mountains!
Favorite Camp Food: Trail Mix
Ideal Outdoor Trip Destination: Koroyanitu National Park, Fiji
If you were stranded on a desert island, what/who would you bring with you: Bear Grylls and some chex mix