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Saline Bayou

Ozark Plateau + Timberlands, Louisiana

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Saline Bayou

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  • Saline Bayou.- Saline Bayou
  • Pearfield Boat Launch makes a good put-in for Saline Bayou.- Saline Bayou
  • Putting in at Pearfield Boat Launch.- Saline Bayou
  • Quietly drifting through Saline Bayou.- Saline Bayou
  • Rolling downstream on a high-water Saline Bayou.- Saline Bayou
  • The current picks up quite a bit at higher flows.- Saline Bayou
  • Plants on plants.- Saline Bayou
  • Enjoying calm water in the flooded forest.- Saline Bayou
  • Winter canopy in Kisatchie National Forest.- Saline Bayou
  • Clouds breaking overhead.- Saline Bayou
  • The 3-mile hiking trail connects Cloud Crossing and Pearfield along the bayou.- Saline Bayou
  • Saline Bayou Hiking Trail.- Saline Bayou
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Quiet. Remote.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Ozark Plateau + Timberlands, LA
Access: 
Vehicle
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Site characteristics: Water: 
River
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Yes
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Portage required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Put-in location (lat, long coordinates): 
32.063299, -92.901674
Shuttle required: 
No
Take-out location (lat, long coordinates): 
32.063299, -92.901674
Total Distance: 
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Typically multi-day: 
No
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Water temperature: 
140.00 °F (60.00 °C)
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Pro Contributor

Kisatchie National Forest maintains the largest swaths of woodlands in Louisiana, and the Saline Bayou corridor is among the most isolated of these. Drifting beneath a canopy of huge cypress and tupelo trees, you will hear only bird calls, breezes in the leaves, and the lapping of your own paddle in the water. A 19-mile reach of Saline Bayou is a National Wild and Scenic River, which means it is free-flowing stream (no dams or impoundments) with special protection for conservation. There are few access points, but that makes it easy to get deep into the woods and lose signs of civilization.

The best places to start are near Goldonna at either the campground in Cloud Crossing Recreation Area or downstream at Pearfield Boat Launch, both of which are managed by the Forest Service. It is approximately 3 miles between the two, so you can set shuttle for a one-way trip of this distance. The bayou can be paddled in either direction at normal flows, however. When it overflows its banks after heavy rains, it can still be enjoyed, but high flows make navigation and maneuvering more difficult. Currents are stronger, and the water spreads out over variable terrain. The Saline Bayou Hiking Trail also travels in between Cloud Crossing and Pearfield Launch, presenting a fun alternative way to see the forest. Many miles downstream is Saline Lake, a reservoir on the bayou below the Wild and Scenic section. It is possible to travel this far in a long day or an overnight trip, and boat ramps on the lake provide shuttle options.

Note: Be aware of hunting seasons in Kisatchie National Forest, especially when venturing far from roads, and use appropriate precautions.

This paddle adventure was equipped by and published in collaboration with Bote Boards.

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