As you head northward out of Ville Platte, you’ll start to notice the flat land starts rolling into small hills.
Chicot State Park is the place for everyone who loves the outdoors. You can bring your own boat, rent a canoe, or just hang out on the fishing pier. A man from Texas wasn’t having much luck fishing during our visit but said he still loved to hear the sounds. The cool, clear water has yielded record catches for some.
There are places to camp, whether you’re in a camper, a tent, or would rather enjoy some of the lakeside cabins. There’s primitive camping allowed in a few select areas along the 21-mile hiking trail.
It’s well marked for backpackers with a number of entrances and even a few emergency exits. Bicyclists have utilized the trails for a more rugged ride. You’ll move through hardwood forest and cypress swampland.
For the kids, there’s a playground and during the warmer months, a splash pad.
For a great way to learn about the local flora and fauna, you check out the Louisiana State Arboretum.
“We’re the only preservation area run by state parks and the only arboretum run by the state parks,” says Arboretum curator, Kim Hollier.
They have a few easier trails
“We have 5 and a half miles of trails, with the trees labeled with color photos and information about the flowers and the fruit on those trees,” says Hollier.
Including how early Native Americans utilized these trees for building, health, and medicine. Bird watching is another activity for those who come to the arboretum.
“It’s a great time for bird watching, as the migrating birds during the spring and fall. We have a lot of birds that nest here during the summer, that you don’t see any other time of year,” says Hollier. “Many people come out here to see the hummingbirds because we have so many of them because they nest here and the Prothonotary Warbler, they’re bright gold and gray that nest near the swamp here.”
Hollier says if you want the full experience of the Arboretum and the trails you should budget at least a couple of hours. But it’s easy to spend the entire day or a few days. Bring a picnic lunch, enjoy the sounds of nature, and experience all that Chicot State Park has to offer!