Kisatchie National Forest stretches into seven different central Louisiana parishes, covering more than 600,000 acres. Endless stretches of bayou and old-growth forests offer an array of adventures and acres of exotic beauty. In all seasons, visitors flock to the Kisatchie Forest to admire the beauty and spend time in the great outdoors.
Tours of the Kisatchie National forest provides a peek into the way Louisiana used to be. At the time the French arrived, much of the land was covered in groves of yellow pine trees. Favored by lumberjacks and builders, much of the timber was gone by the 1920s. When the Great Depression ran the largest sawmill located along the Mississippi River out of business, a vast swatch of land was purchased by the U.S. Forest Service. Ever since then, the forest service has managed the land of the National Forest in Louisiana, which is located mainly between Natchitoches and Alexandria in the central portion of the state.
The Kisatchie Forest has been divided into five ranger districts, with each offering its own mix of scenery, trails, and recreational offerings. The Calcasieu district is the closest area to Alexandria; its Evangeline and Vernon districts are home to a wide variety of things to do in Kisatchie National Forest. ATV trails wind through both units, as do hiking trails. This unit is also a favorite place for boating and swimming, especially at Kincaid Lake and Fullerton Lake.
The Sugar Cane National Recreation Trail meanders through the Caney District of the Kisatchie Forest, close to the community of Homer. Along the way, hikers and mountain bikers will see diverse ecosystems, including groves of pine trees, lovely water lilies, and Upper Caney Lake. Some of the trail is somewhat difficult, but even inexperienced hikers can add this scenic setting to their vacations. Several boardwalks cross the lake and fragile landscapes, offering a sure-footed path and access to the beautiful settings.
Scenic settings abound in the Kisatchie district, including the white-sand beaches at the Kisatchie Bayou Recreation Area and the bluffs overlooking the Longleaf Vista Recreation Area. This region of the Kisatchie National Forest is also home a scenic byway and several ATV trails. Equestrians can follow the Caroline Dormon Horse Trail; a local outfitter can provide you with guided trail tours as well as horses to ride.
Not surprisingly, camping is one of the more popular things to do in Kisatchie National Forest. The Winn District, like the other districts, offers a wide range of options for tents and RV camping. While no cabins are located within in the national forest, you'll find a wide array of rentals and hotels in the surrounding communities. The campgrounds within the forest can accommodate families, groups, and travelers on tight budgets. Campsites for equestrians and hunters are options as well.
Many of these sites are located within steps of things to do in the Kisatchie National Forest. Within in minutes of the hookups, you'll find opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and watching wildlife. Many times, the campgrounds and activities are available for a small cost, meaning you can enjoy well-rounded vacations without paying a lot. Special passes are available for seniors, disabled visitors, and year-round passes.
Some of the campgrounds at the Catahoula Districts have undergone renovations. In this part of the forest, visitors will have the chance to have some fun at the Stuart Lake Recreation Complex and explore the National Catahoula Wildlife Management Preserve.