Cane Bayou is a lazy tributary on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. It borders Fontainebleau State Park, but you do not have to enter the park to access it. A public boat ramp on US-190 leads right to the water. At first glance, the bayou is a rather unassuming waterway, but bends on either side of the boat ramp hide its natural beauty. You can paddle it in either direction. Past the upstream bend and the highway bridge, the bayou winds among dense forest and overhanging cypress groves. Past the downstream bend and a footbridge is tree-lined marsh and eventually the wide-open lake.
If you travel upstream you will pass private property lining the bayou for only about a half mile, then the forest takes over. You may have to pull over a few log jams, but solitude is your reward. Downstream is the more popular direction, as it takes you through sunny swamplands and into Lake Pontchartrain. It is about 1.5 miles to the lake on lazy current that you might notice only a little bit on the way back. Once you reach the lake, you'll have a wide open view toward The Causeway and the opposite shore, which you can just make out on a clear day. You are likely to see waterfowl, wading birds, birds of prey, turtles, and maybe an alligator along the bayou.
The trip is generally easy, but beware that wind, heat, and bugs may add difficulty on certain days. Calm conditions at the start may belie blustery weather on the lake, but you can always retrace your way back. Come prepared with water, snacks, sunscreen, and bug spray so you can relax, take in the scenery, and enjoy yourself on the water.
This paddle adventure was equipped by and published in collaboration with Bote Boards.