Kisatchie Hills Wilderness Trails
The Kisatchie Hills Wilderness Trails are actually four separate trails located in the Kisatchie National Forest of Louisiana. They consist of the Backbone Trail, High Ridge Trail, Explorer Trail and Turpentine Trail. The Backbone Trail is the main trail that is around 7.5 miles long one way and the other three trails intersect it at different points. One trailhead for Backbone is located just off Longleaf Scenic Byway (FH 59) at the Caroline Dormon/Backbone Trailheads and the other is located on FR 339 (forest road).
The High Ridge trail is 1.5 miles long and meets up with Backbone about 3 miles in from the FR 339 trailhead. The Turpentine trail has its own trailhead located between the Caroline Dormon Trailhead and the entry road for the Longleaf Vista Recreation Area. Turpentine meets up with Backbone about a mile and 1/2 in so if you just want to walk that trail it’s an easy and pretty 3 mile round trip from the trailhead. The Explorer Trail is only 1/2 mile long and connects to the Turpentine Hill Trail just south of where it meets up with the Backbone Trail.
I know you just read that last paragraph and said “What?” The whole little trail system there interweaves itself into this magical little web that is begging to be explored. Over the course of a week I think we managed to walk almost all of it or got pretty darn close. It’s a great area to backpack or day hike in. We discovered some very cool primitive campsites hidden throughout the area to throw a tent up for a night and I kinda wish we would of done it at least once.
Water is scarce on the trail though. The Bayou Cypre runs across the Backbone trail at around the four-mile mark and usually (but not always) has water. Make sure you always filter your water while hiking through the back country though. You can also bring your furry friends on your adventure as long as you keep them leashed. Get more info at the USDA website. I also included information on the local ranger station below to stop at before beginning your hike for more information and maps.
Kisatchie Ranger District
229 Dogwood Park Road
Hours: 7:00a – 4:00p M-F