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9 amazing hiking trails near New Orleans, mapped

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While there are plenty of walking paths in New Orleans, including its expansive Mississippi River trails, there aren’t many places to hike in the city. However, several gorgeous hiking paths and trails are waiting just a short drive away.

Spring and summer months are great times to explore the diverse wildlife refuges and parks found throughout the Gulf Coast. Here are nine adventurous hiking trails, from short trails in the city’s backyard to giant hikes in a national forest.

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1. Audubon Louisiana Nature Center

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11000 Lake Forest Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70127

Three diverse walking trails snake through swamp and forest in the middle of New Orleans East. There’s a mile-long hike along a boardwalk and two mile-long secluded winding trails, all returning to the recently reopened Nature Center campus. Trails are free and open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2. Couturie Forest & Arboretum

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1009 Harrison Ave
New Orleans, LA 70124

The 60-acre forest is City Park’s hidden gem and a favorite spot for birders—the forest is home to more than 40 species of birds. It’s also home to New Orleans’ highest point of elevation (a breathtaking 43 feet above sea level).

3. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Barataria Trail

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Roughly 30 minutes from New Orleans, you’ll find this giant park and its 4-mile boardwalk trail. It has gorgeous southern scenery, including native wild flowers, swamps, live oaks, native floating marshes, and, if you’re into wildlife, alligators.

4. Mississippi River Trail

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Mississippi River Trail
New Orleans, LA 70114

New Orleans has two Mississippi River trails, one on each bank. The West Bank’s trail spans 5.3 miles of the Mississippi River, while the East Bank’s trail starts at Audubon Park and runs west for 60 miles. Both offer gorgeous views and unobstructed cycling and jogging paths.

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5. Clark Creek Hiking Trail

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109 Ft Adams Pond Rd
Woodville, MS 39669

Despite being nearly three hours from New Orleans, this 4.1-mile trail is one of the few on this list that features a waterfall. Its gravel walking paths are wide, being at least 6 feet across at its narrowest. Its several creeks, tall trees, and steep-but-manageable paths make it a worthwhile trip.

6. Kisatchie National Forest

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Kisatchie National Forest
H, LA 71433

Another three-hour trip from New Orleans, Kisatchie is the only national forest in the state, and its more than 600,000 acres support a diverse ecosystem touching several parishes and supporting rare plant and animal species. Campers, birders, and nature lovers will want to head to Calcasieu’s area of the park.

7. Woodlands Conservancy Park

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This Plaquemines Parish conservancy is one of Louisiana’s last bottomland hardwood forests. It has three separate looping trails that all lead into one another, totaling well over 5 miles. Its Woodlands Trail serves as an educational and historical account of Louisiana’s few remaining coastal forests. 

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8. Bayou Sauvage NWR Ridge Trail & Boardwalk

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20876 Chef Menteur Hwy
New Orleans, LA 70129

If you appreciate an occasional alligator, or a break to birdwatch on your hiking trail, then you should check out this national wildlife refuge. Its trail passes through its Madere Marsh, lagoons, and pleasant green spaces. While its boardwalk only spans .75 miles, its Ridge trail is a one-way, 6.8-mile path.

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9. Black Creek Wilderness

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One of the longest mentioned, this beautiful Mississippi trail spans nearly 42 miles long, with several camp sites along the way. Roughly two hours from New Orleans, this trail has a well-distinguished path, tall trees, river views, and a handful of creek-accessible areas. 

1. Audubon Louisiana Nature Center

11000 Lake Forest Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70127

Three diverse walking trails snake through swamp and forest in the middle of New Orleans East. There’s a mile-long hike along a boardwalk and two mile-long secluded winding trails, all returning to the recently reopened Nature Center campus. Trails are free and open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

11000 Lake Forest Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70127

2. Couturie Forest & Arboretum

1009 Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

The 60-acre forest is City Park’s hidden gem and a favorite spot for birders—the forest is home to more than 40 species of birds. It’s also home to New Orleans’ highest point of elevation (a breathtaking 43 feet above sea level).

1009 Harrison Ave
New Orleans, LA 70124

3. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Barataria Trail

Marrero, LA 70072

Roughly 30 minutes from New Orleans, you’ll find this giant park and its 4-mile boardwalk trail. It has gorgeous southern scenery, including native wild flowers, swamps, live oaks, native floating marshes, and, if you’re into wildlife, alligators.

4. Mississippi River Trail

Mississippi River Trail, New Orleans, LA 70114

New Orleans has two Mississippi River trails, one on each bank. The West Bank’s trail spans 5.3 miles of the Mississippi River, while the East Bank’s trail starts at Audubon Park and runs west for 60 miles. Both offer gorgeous views and unobstructed cycling and jogging paths.

Mississippi River Trail
New Orleans, LA 70114

5. Clark Creek Hiking Trail

109 Ft Adams Pond Rd, Woodville, MS 39669

Despite being nearly three hours from New Orleans, this 4.1-mile trail is one of the few on this list that features a waterfall. Its gravel walking paths are wide, being at least 6 feet across at its narrowest. Its several creeks, tall trees, and steep-but-manageable paths make it a worthwhile trip.

109 Ft Adams Pond Rd
Woodville, MS 39669

6. Kisatchie National Forest

Kisatchie National Forest, H, LA 71433

Another three-hour trip from New Orleans, Kisatchie is the only national forest in the state, and its more than 600,000 acres support a diverse ecosystem touching several parishes and supporting rare plant and animal species. Campers, birders, and nature lovers will want to head to Calcasieu’s area of the park.

Kisatchie National Forest
H, LA 71433

7. Woodlands Conservancy Park

Belle Chasse, LA 70037

This Plaquemines Parish conservancy is one of Louisiana’s last bottomland hardwood forests. It has three separate looping trails that all lead into one another, totaling well over 5 miles. Its Woodlands Trail serves as an educational and historical account of Louisiana’s few remaining coastal forests. 

8. Bayou Sauvage NWR Ridge Trail & Boardwalk

20876 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70129

If you appreciate an occasional alligator, or a break to birdwatch on your hiking trail, then you should check out this national wildlife refuge. Its trail passes through its Madere Marsh, lagoons, and pleasant green spaces. While its boardwalk only spans .75 miles, its Ridge trail is a one-way, 6.8-mile path.

20876 Chef Menteur Hwy
New Orleans, LA 70129

9. Black Creek Wilderness

Wiggins, MS 39577

One of the longest mentioned, this beautiful Mississippi trail spans nearly 42 miles long, with several camp sites along the way. Roughly two hours from New Orleans, this trail has a well-distinguished path, tall trees, river views, and a handful of creek-accessible areas.