Louisiana’s rural trails and urban loops offer road cyclists and mountain bikers much to enjoy. Looking for high-octane adventure in the hills? North and central Louisiana has challenging terrain that mountain bikers might not expect from a place more commonly associated with swamps than summits. Or how about coasting through a cypress-tupelo forest through the bayou? Numerous Louisiana bike trails will get you close to its famous waterways. Louisiana’s miles of paved paths offer road cyclists the chance to cover miles of the state that are just as diverse. Routes take cyclists past sugar cane fields and crawfish farms, through the cities of Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans, and down highways that hug the Mighty Mississippi River.
Sportsman’s Paradise Area (North Louisiana)
Red River Bicycle Trail, Shreveport
Spanning more than six miles through downtown Shreveport, the Red River Bicycle Trail is a “must” for two-wheeled travelers interested in seeing north Louisiana’s largest city. You’ll pass numerous city parks along the way.
Lakeshore MTB Singletrack, Shreveport
This loop trail is filled with switchbacks and tight squeezes, ranging in elevation of about 250 feet (75m) and crossing over bridges down dirt and sandy patches. The loop runs approximately five miles total, and is dog-friendly as well.
Lincoln Parish Park, Ruston
Ruston is a city known by many visitors and locals as the Peach Capital of Louisiana. For mountain biking enthusiasts, the area is known for Lincoln Parish Park. With twists, turns and inclines galore, the 10 miles (16km) of off-road tracks at this north Louisiana preserve are worthy of the hype.
Big Tree Hiking Trail, Bossier Parish
Don’t let the name deceive you (it isn’t just for hiking)—this seven-mile-long (11km), intermediate-level mountain biking trail is located at Barksdale Air Force Base near Bossier City. There are more than 50 tree species in this hidden gem of a preserve, many of which you’ll see when riding over the long (and sturdy) bridges that span its marshes.
Crossroads Area (Central Louisiana)
Kincaid Lakeshore Trail
Kisatchie National Forest is a massive outdoor wonderland of hills, forests and waterways. Biking here is excellent, thanks to destinations like the Kincaid Lake Trail. This nine-mile singletrack MTB loop trail is great for beginners to intermediate, with minimal obstructions and spectacular views of Kincaid Lake throughout.
Wild Azalea Trail, Woodworth (near Alexandria)
The Chief of the U.S. Forest Service designated this as a National Recreation Trail, for its spectacular scenery showcasing the natural beauty of central Louisiana. Wild Azalea Trail, like the Kincaid Lake Trail, is in Kisatchie National Forest. Within its 31 miles, you’ll find climbs and sharp hills, as well as some flatter stretches that allow riders to slow down and take in the remote forest vistas.
Caroline Dormon Trail, Provencal (near Natchitoches)
Caroline Dormon was an environmentalist and writer who advocated for the creation of Kisatchie National Forest in the 1930s. So it’s only fitting that a popular trail in the heart of the forest is named for her. This 10.5-mile ( 17km) end-to-end trail (not a loop) ends near the Kisatchie Bayou Recreation Complex. It’s close to creeks—great for swimming—and the Longleaf Trail Scenic Byway, which is just one of the many driving trails throughout the state known as Louisiana’s Scenic Byways.
Cajun Country (Southwest Louisiana)
Atchafalaya Basin Wilderness Trail, Henderson
The Atchafalaya Basin is a massive swamp stretching across numerous south Louisiana parishes. Luckily for cyclists, there are bike trails that run through it. One of the highlights is the Atchafalaya Basin Wilderness Trail, a remote gravel trail that runs from Henderson to Franklin. Come prepared with food, water, a spare tire and pump. Along the massive 55-mile (89km) trail you’ll pass Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, the historical town of Charenton and the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge.
New Iberia to Avery Island Loop, New Iberia
Bring your bike and your appetite to this trail. Highlights of the 25.5-mile (41km) loop include the Avery Island hot sauce factory (open for tours) and the nearby nature preserve Jungle Gardens, and the city of New Iberia, where restaurants serve up Cajun and Creole cuisine daily.
Chicot State Park, Ville Platte
Steep hills and deep cypress-tupelo forests dominate the landscape at this state park. Measuring 18 miles (29km) in length, the Chicot State Park bike trail is one you’ll definitely want to tackle with a sturdy mountain bike. Take in views of scenic Lake Chicot, make a side trip to the Louisiana State Arboretum nearby and, after a long day of riding, sleep at one of the state park’s campsites.
Plantation Country (Capital Area)
Baton Rouge Levee Bike Path
At the edge of downtown Baton Rouge, bordering the Mississippi River is an imposing levee. At the top of it: A beautiful, well-maintained paved trail. Known simply as the Baton Rouge Levee Bike Path, this 4.3-mile (6.9km) trail leads from the downtown promenade to Farr Park. It’s well-lit, with separate lanes for walkers and cyclists, and is a charming attraction that offers a break between seeing the sites of Louisiana’s capital city.
Bonnet Carré Spillway Trail, Norco
Off-road biking… near New Orleans? That’s right. Found on the outskirts of Louisiana’s largest city, the Bonnet Carré Spillway Trail is an easy five-mile (8km) trail that is great for families looking to see Louisiana’s outdoors without venturing far from the Crescent City. Expect to find bridges and berms, and a few twists and turns.
The Beast, St. Francisville
In the plantation region north of Baton Rouge is a challenging off-road bike trail with a name to match. Known simply as The Beast, this winding dirt path offers plenty of twists and turns in its short five miles (8km). Expect deep forest cover, a few bridges and gullies, and switchbacks that are geared towards experienced cyclists.
Greater New Orleans
Tammany Trace, Slidell
The Tammany Trace is a Northshore (north of Lake Pontchartrain) destination for hikers, cyclists and families looking for a quick getaway from New Orleans. It’s a rails-to-trails project, constructed from former train tracks that once went through the area. The paved path, totaling 31 miles (50km), begins in Slidell and ends in downtown Covington. Along the trail—suitable for road bikes and mountain bikes alike—you’ll pass over bayous and through the charming towns of Mandeville, Abita Springs and Lacombe.
Bogue Chitto State Park, Franklinton
Far up on Louisiana’s Northshore is one of the state’s most beloved natural areas, Bogue Chitto State Park. This is a haven for cyclists, hikers and equestrians alike. The mountain biking trails, of which the Gorge Run Trail is the highlight, takes visitors up hills to river overlooks, through dense forests and over scenic ponds. Learn more about biking in Louisiana.