Louisiana: Explore the Outdoors in Greater Baton Rouge

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Our host Paula sat down with Katherine Gividen, author, teacher, backpacker outfitter, and President of The Louisiana Hiking Club (to name just a few of her accomplishments) to get the lowdown on everything you'll need to explore the outdoors near Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  

  • Located 30 miles outside of downtown Baton Rouge, the Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge is one of the top sanctuaries for dozens of slowly endangering species, including the Louisiana black bear and the swallow-tailed kite. Boasting the largest tree this side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the refuge has many rare baldcypress trees that can often be over 1,000 years old.

  • Rich with history from the U.S. Civil War, the Port Hudson State Historic Site played an important role in Louisiana’s wartime history. Today, proximity to Baton Rouge and the Red River was once a huge advantage to Confederate troops, and makes for the perfect backdrop for modern day Battle of Port Hudson re-enactments, which take place at the site every spring.

  • Because the Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area holds such rare habitats and species, you’ll need a Wild Louisiana Stamp to enter. Pro Tip: Luckily, these stamps are easy to acquire, and can be purchased for mere dollars at most convenience and big box stores in the greater Baton Rouge area.

  • Looking for a good time with friends and family of all ages? Chicot State Park offers some of the best paddling, biking, hiking, and camping options in the area. If you do choose to stick it out, your group can choose to either pitch a tent in their primitive camping areas or head to one of the park’s full-service “glamping” cabins, where all-natural Louisiana beauty meets modern accommodations amenities.

  • Hankering for some stellar Cajun cuisine and a fun day outdoors? Less than an hour outside of downtown Baton Rouge at McGees Landing, locals and visitors alike can indulge in an excellent tour of the Atchafalaya basin before enjoying an authentic local dining experience.

  • If you don’t already know about the Atchafalaya Basin, this 1.4 million acre swamp (the largest in the country) will knock your socks -- or waders -- off! From touring the swamps on airboats to paddling on canoes and kayaks, your group will have plenty of fun in the sun. Home to over 250 species of birds and 65 reptiles and amphibians, the expansive Atchyafalaya Basin is truly one of the most diverse ecosystems in the country.

  • The BackPacker is Baton Rouge’s one-stop retail shop for all your outdoor adventure needs, and our guest Katherine had some great tips on what to bring along your next Lousiana trip, so click here to find her full list of outdoor activities must-haves!

Our friends over at Louisiana Travel are always encouraging locals and visitors alike to "Pick Your Passion." If you need more information on the best fishing, camping, and outdoor spots in the Pelican state, head over to their site for the full lowdown

Filed Under: hiking, tours, trails, travel gear

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