The Chicot State Park Trail is 19 beautiful miles of Louisiana wilderness through dense forests and past swampy lake shores. As its name would suggest, the trail is located in Chicot State Park. It creates a perimeter around Lake Chicot and provides several access points. This trail is open to hikers and backpackers and offers six primitive campsites that all sit on the edge of the lake. The campsites all have a metal fire rings and quite a bit of privacy. If you’re looking to get out and really experience Louisiana nature, traversing this trail as a backpacker for a night or two would be a great way to get that experience.
The easiest way to hop on the trail is from the South Landing Trailhead, which can be found just past the main entrance into Chicot State Park. Day hikers could start at the South Landing Trailhead and take the trail to Walker Branch Trailhead and then backtrack for a nice 4-mile hike that takes you over the scenic bridge over Lake Chicot.
The trail is surprisingly steep and hilly at times, so don’t let it catch you off guard. These slopes can be really slippery when wet. A good pair of hiking boots is recommended for this trail. At times the forest is covered in large vines, and you get the feeling that you’ve walked into an ancient jungle. The sounds of woodpeckers pecking away echo through the forest. Lazy creeks meander slowly - twisting their way through the landscape. Small shoots of bamboo densely populate some sections of the trail. The park service has benches that are sparsely placed along the trail for visitors to just sit and enjoy the sounds of nature. Magnolia trees can occasionally be spotted. Also, keep your eye out for the toothache tree - it’s not the type of tree you want to lean against while resting on the side of the trail. The bark of these trees is covered in what looks like alligator teeth, and it can be used medicinally to numb the mouth. Note that the mosquitos can be thick outside of winter, so take precaution while enjoying this lovely walk through nature!