Motors Allowed?
Easy / Class A
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
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The Calcasieu River Basin spreads out across central and southern Louisiana before emptying itself in the Gulf of Mexico not far from the Texas border. The landscape of the river basin is characterized by marshes, lakes, and bayous. The headwaters of the river start as fresh water and become more brackish as you move just south of the Lake Charles area. Banks of the river are lined with cypress trees, Spanish moss, and thick undergrowth. Note how the Spanish moss only grows on the side of the tree that hangs over the water.

The slow, almost nonexistent flow of the river makes for a great day paddling on the west fork of the Calcasieu River. You’ll likely find few people, which makes it a great option for fishing. You may want to pack your pole for the day. Not all vessels on the river will be powered by paddles, though, so be aware of larger, motorized boats creating wakes behind them. 

You can hop on the river via Holbrook Park, which is located just 15 miles northwest of Lake Charles. There is no day fee to use the park. There is a kayak put-in and a boat ramp located just a short distance from the office. Drive to the left (north) of the office to get in the water. While this adventure follows the river's southern course, both directions provide scenic, iconic Louisiana landscapes. If you can be stealthy with your paddle, you might be able to see some alligators or turtles warming up on the banks or logs. Birds are plentiful, as is the case with most of southern Louisiana. At certain times of the year, 200 bird species can be seen in this area of the Calcasieu River.

Camping at Holbrook Park is relatively cheap, so plan ahead and make a weekend of it. The park offers RV hookups and primitive tent sites.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Minimal flow, so no shuttle is needed.


Subject to the same narrow waters as fast-moving motorized boats.

Pets allowed


Put-in location (lat, long coordinates)

30°21'03.2"N 93°17'40.7"W

Take-out location (lat, long coordinates)

30°21'03.2"N 93°17'40.7"W

Water Temperature

65.00 °F (18.33 °C)


Bird watching
Boat ramp(s)

Trail type




Typically multi-day


Shuttle required


Site characteristics: Water


Portage required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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Alligators, Monarch butterflies, 400 species of birds, walking trails and natural, Gulf beaches - you can truly surround yourself in nature in Southwest Louisiana along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. After experiencing the great outdoors, you can enjoy the food, culture, music and art that Louisiana is known for the world over – in just a short drive to Lake Charles, LA.

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