At just under 30 miles, the Wild Azalea Trail is Louisiana’s longest footpath. What it lacks in length, it makes up in beauty and biodiversity. Located in the Kisatchie National Forest, the trail runs from southeast to northwest. The trail was built in the early 1970s by Forest Service personnel and volunteer groups. No less than five ecosystems thrive here among the rolling pine-covered hills and lush bottomlands where clear waters flow over sandy streambeds beneath rich hardwoods. Also in these bottoms are wetlands, or bogs, locally known as bayous, where the elegant cypress tree reigns. Hickory and oak forests thrive in transitional zones, along with some of the largest dogwoods in the land. Don’t let the Bayou State’s reputation for flatness cloud your mind; the Wild Azalea Trail features plenty of vertical variation. Your legs will attest to this fact at the end of the day. Another surprise will be the wild character of the trail. The forest cover exudes a real sense of being “out there.” And you really are. Only the beginning and end are developed.
This trail is for bikers and hikers only, with trailheads at the Town Hall in Woodworth and at the Valentine Lake Recreation Area. There are many points where you can join the trail, so you can determine the trail length according to your preference.
The Wild Azalea Trail is not a loop. It is bisected about midway by Louisiana Highway 488. Designated by the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service as a National Recreation Trail because of its outstanding scenic values, the trail is for foot or mountain bike traffic only. The route is conspicuously marked with bright yellow paint blazes. Traversing flat to rolling terrain, it winds through pine hills and hardwood bottoms, passing through managed forest areas, clearings and untouched areas. Visitors can enjoy the Castor Creek Scenic Area, a 90-acre site where large pine and hardwood trees are left in their natural state.
Streams along the trail are unsuitable for drinking purposes, so it's best to bring water. Parking is available at the town of Woodworth (at the Town Hall), on Forest Roads 273 and 279, and at the Valentine Lake Recreation Complex near the Southshore Campground.
need a pack
Lived here all my life and never walked the whole thing. Would probably be a great trip