Dave Trips: Wild Azalea Trail

Kisatchie National Forest
Posted at 6:42 AM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 08:18:03-04

After a long hot summer, some of you are longing to take a long hike. Kisatchie National Forest is a great way enjoy some of Louisiana's most beautiful landscapes. In particular, the Wild Azalea Trail that covers more than 20 miles of Central Louisiana. About an hour from Lafayette, you can start your trip in Woodworth at the southern trail head entrance and work northward. The hard core hiker who wants to take a couple of days would be able to primitive camp along the way. It's best to have someone drop you off, then pick you up at the northern trail head. The novice hiker can just do a few miles by hitting any of several trail head entrances, walk for a while, then turn around to return to your car.

Once there, you'll be deep in the woods and away from civilization, but never too far from a forest service road or state highway. The canopy of pine and oak allows for a slightly cooler experience. Most of your hike will be easy with just rolling hills, but there are a few steep climbs here and there. Clear creeks are on your way if you need a splash of cool water. You'll hear the crunch from what's under your feet. But a silent stop will allow you to experience all of the sounds of nature. If you do decide to camp along the way you'll need to be at least 30 feet from the trail and no open fires are allowed. There are some camping areas that have a few comforts of home. Make sure everything you bring in, comes out!!

Toward the northern end of the trail you'll be near Lake Kincaid day use area, with connecting shorter loop trails, as well as the Valentine Lake Recreation area. Both of these places allow camping, with more comforts of home such as water, fire rings, and even a little electricity to get yourself charged up.