Bayou Dorcheat runs a long course through Northern Louisiana, but in the 115 miles from its source in Arkansas to its mouth in Lake Bistineau, there are surprisingly few access points. Most of the bayou is hidden away in forest and swamp land with hardly any roads. The largest community that it flows through is the small town of Dixie Inn near Interstate 20. The public ramp here at Dauchite Park is a good place to begin exploration of the bayou.
At one time Bayou Dorcheat was a major transportation route as one of the northernmost stretches of navigable waterway in the state. Steamboats could travel all the way to Dixie Inn and Minden from the Red River. But since the creation of Lake Bistineau along Dorcheat's former course, small boats are are all that put on the bayou these days. It is popular with fisherman and nature lovers alike, but never crowded. There are no more bridges as you travel upstream and away from the highway, and signs of civilization become fewer the farther you go. The bayou is lined with diverse plant life including some large cypress and impressive hanging vines. There are lagoons, oxbows, and islands that make navigation interesting. The current is generally weak and easy to paddle against, but with water level the flow increases. You can make a one-way journey by paddling downstream from Dixie Inn and setting shuttle at Highway 164 near Sibley.
This paddle adventure was equipped by and published in collaboration with Bote Boards.