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Heart of Louisiana: Chicot Trails

Chicot State Park is Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails.
Published: May. 7, 2022 at 5:03 PM CDT|Updated: May. 8, 2022 at 2:15 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails. Chicot State Park near Ville Platte is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast.

It’s Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails....
It’s Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails. Chicot State Park near Ville Platte is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast.(Dave McNamara)

A long fishing pier is the perfect place to experience daybreak at Chicot State Park. The quarter moon reflects in the still lake water as daylight slowly creeps across the sky. Birds and ducks take flight as the day begins. And finally, the sun streaks through the treetops of this forested landscape. It creates a magical scene in the moss-draped cypress trees. Then, the first fisherman arrives.

“So we have two 400-foot fishing piers that go out into the lake where you can fish off of both sides,” said Jessica Earles.

Earles is the manager of Louisiana’s largest state park. It’s 6,500 acres, including a 2000-acre lake that’s perfect for canoes and kayaks.

“The lake has a lot of cypress trees. A lot of shaded areas, little coves, things that attract a lot of our fishermen. The canoe trail, it makes a circle that you can actually follow in a canoe. You don’t have to go on the trail, but a lot of people like to use the trail,” said Earles.

It’s Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails....
It’s Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails. Chicot State Park near Ville Platte is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast.(Dave McNamara)

And if you like to hike, a long trail follows the lake shoreline.

“It’s a little over 20 miles. It has numerous boardwalks. Some of them are 1,100 feet. Some of them are little short boardwalks, 10 feet long,” said Earles.

Mcnamara: I spent a few hours on the trail and met

David Gwartney and his grandson, Cannon, were on their first trip here on the trail.

When asked what he thinks about the trail, which is not flat land, Gwartney said, “Yeah, it’s, it’s a little rough with him. We’re a little worried about the slipping and tripping, but it’s fun, you know, what we like to do.”

When asked what the best part about hiking on these trails was, Cannon said he likes to see nature.

It’s Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails....
It’s Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails. Chicot State Park near Ville Platte is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast.(Dave McNamara)

One of the fun things about this trail at Chicot is the change in elevation. As you wind your way through the woods, there are a lot of ups and downs and those are followed by more ups and downs. So it’s a pretty good workout.

Kevin Romero and his family have already logged three miles.

When asked what inspired him to get out on the trail, Romero said, “Her birthday. She wanted to come out and hike for her birthday, so we’re out hiking for her birthday, Tuesday.”

When asked what he thought about the trail, Romero said, “Oh, they’re beautiful. They’re well kept. They’ve been cleared out really good, so it’s a great hike. It really is a good hike.”

The child said the lake is pretty.

When asked if this is a great birthday present, Christie Romero said, “Yeah, that’s what I wanted to do is go hiking.”

For really young hikers, there is a short, easy kids trail with animal cutouts along the path. And it’s fun to explore after dark after sunset, I head back to the place where my day began that long fishing pier.

Now, it’s the stars that are reflected in the calm water of Lake Chicot.

It’s Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails....
It’s Louisiana’s largest state park, and it also has one of the state’s longest hiking trails. Chicot State Park near Ville Platte is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast.(Dave McNamara)

For more information on activities at Chicot and other state parks, click HERE.

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