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Finding Best Hikes in New Orleans—Expert's Top 8 Picks

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Finding Best Hikes in New Orleans—Expert's Top 8 Picks
New Orleans is a city full of surprises. The city’s famous for its outrageous festivals, jazz music, and Cajun cuisine. Discover the hiking side of New Orleans with this ultimate guide to the city’s hiking spots!
Abigail Sinsona
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Abigail is a travel enthusiast who enjoys trying new foodie destinations. She graduated with a degree in Creative Writing and has worked as a web content writer since 2010. She enjoys writing about travel, lifestyle, beauty, hair care, and wellness.

Read more about this author

When you think of New Orleans, you often picture the historic French Quarter filled with jazz clubs and landmark buildings. And I can’t forget about the famous Mardi Gras festival!

But, while it’s a huge part of the city’s identity, there’s more to New Orleans if you dare to explore beyond the city corners. 

I know that New Orleans isn’t necessarily a first choice of destination for outdoor lovers. But that’s about to change!

I’m here to tell you about all of the fantastic and worthwhile outdoor spots to discover near New Orleans. Get ready to explore beyond the city corners and connect with nature. 

Outdoor and hiking enthusiasts won’t need to travel far to find beautiful and scenic hiking trails in New Orleans.

If you’re an outdoor and nature lover, add some of my favorite spots to hike in New Orleans as one more reason to visit NOLA!

When to Go Hiking in New Orleans?

The ideal time to visit New Orleans for hiking is spring to early summer. Ideally, plan your hiking trip from March to June. 

April offers the most favorable weather and outdoor conditions. So, planning your hike this month enables you to maximize your trip and enjoy nature at its finest. On average, expect the weather to be 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 23 degrees Celsius. 

Spring is also a shoulder season for travel in New Orleans. It means you’re dealing with fewer crowds and enjoy discounts on accommodation. No wonder the city is one of the most stunning spring break destinations

8 Incredible Hikes in New Orleans

When you’re craving a break from city life, many incredible hiking trails in New Orleans await you to explore them. Most of these are a short drive from the city, making them accessible for outdoor adventures. 

If you’d like to spend even more time in nature, I suggest camping in New Orleans! Camping is an underrated activity in the city, given the range of natural landscapes the city is blessed with. 

8. Bayou Sauvage Ridge Trail

If short and sweet was a hiking trail, it’d be the Bayou Sauvage Ridge trail. This hiking trail is less than seven miles long, perfect for beginners and all skill levels. You won’t even have to go the entire route to experience the beauty of this trail!

The best thing about the length is that if you’re in the city for a short stay, you can still make the trip. Cross it off the bucket list, if I may say so myself!

Personally speaking, the boardwalk is the main highlight of the trail itself. It offers a great viewpoint of the surrounding trees and lush groves. You can also spot some wildlife along the route. 

It’s not uncommon to spot kids on this trail, which shows how straightforward it is. So if you’re here with family and friends, you already know where to go.

Boardwalk at the Bayou Sauvage Ridge Trail
Image Courtesy of The Great Delta Tours

7. Old Fields Trail

The Old Fields Trail is part of Camp Salmen Nature Park. The park itself is a natural beauty on its own, but the best way to explore it all is through the Old Fields trail. 

The trail is only two miles long and makes up for a peaceful park view. For those of you who love to bike through the trails, there are options too! If you’re lucky, you might spot some native wildlife through the trail. 

A Man Leaning Against A Tree In The  Old Fields Trail
Image Courtesy of John Kohler

6. Couterie Forest

Now hear me out... this isn’t the name of the trail itself. In fact, Couterie Forest is 60 acres of tranquil woodland within the City Park. The forest features a network of hiking and biking trails winding through various ecosystems. 

When I say this forest transports you to a land of fairytales and magic jungles, I’m not exaggerating! 

Hikers can expect to encounter lots of different wildlife, including birds, snakes, and turtles. The preserve also offers scenic views of the park’s lagoons and other water bodies.

Some highlights of hiking this trail include the gorgeous canopies of oaks and pines. Many consider it to be a hidden gem of New Orleans!

A Bridge In The Couterie Forest
Image Courtesy of Conteches

5. Audubon Park

The trail in Audubon Park is shy of two miles and goes on a loop. The park is located within the Garden District of New Orleans, and it’s the place to go hiking because of the lagoon, oak trees, lawns, and gardens.

The trail features a 1.9-mile paved path available for hikers and bikers. The paved path circles the park, ideal for those looking to savor the gorgeous views and enjoy the fresh air. 

You can veer off into the dirt paths to explore other parts of the park. You’ll discover more sights like historic homes and estates.

Audubon Park Entrance
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

4. Barataria Preserve

The Barataria Preserve is one of the best hiking destinations in New Orleans for hiking enthusiasts. The preserve spans over 23,000 acres of wetlands, swamps, and bayous, and offers a unique opportunity to explore Louisiana’s natural beauty.

The Barataria Preserve is 30 minutes from New Orleans. But it’s worth the drive if you want to immerse in the natural scenery that best represents Louisiana. 

One of the most popular trails in the preserve is the Palmetto Trail, a boardwalk trail that takes visitors through a cypress swamp. Along the way, you’ll spot wildlife such as alligators, egrets, and nutria.

If you have a day to spare, you could wander these trails leisurely to soak in the preserve’s beauty.

A Man Walking Through The Barataria Preserve
Image Courtesy of Local Love & Wanderlust

3. Sugarmill Nature Trail

The Sugarmill Nature Trail is located in Fontainebleau State Park. It’s a short hike but your quintessential New Orleans hike, as you’re treated to excellent marsh views. 

The Fontainebleau State Park is one of the most beautiful New Orleans parks. It’s a slice of paradise, home to many beautiful hiking trails, including the Sugarmill Nature Trail.

It’s a short trail of 1.5 miles long. You can quickly complete this trail in one afternoon, but the stunning scenery makes every second you spend on this trail worth your time!

Alligator Marsh Boardwalk Trail
Image Courtesy of Only In Your State

2. Boy Scout Road

The Boy Scout Road in Big Branch Wildlife Refuge is another must-add to your list of incredible hiking in New Orleans. Its roughly 4.5 miles of trail offer a glimpse into Louisiana’s various ecosystems, such as marshes, swamps, wetlands, and pine savannas. 

You’ll also have plenty of wildlife encounter opportunities while exploring this trail. It’s a remarkably famous destination for birdwatching, so be sure to watch for them!

Your hiking journey starts on a wooden boardwalk and continues onto a gravel road. The trail is also open for cyclists. 

Boy Scout Trail Road
Image Courtesy of Hiking Project

1. Bonnet Carre Spillway Trail

The Bonnet Carre Spillway Trail is one that you should hike at least once. It’s five miles long and winding. You’ll enjoy this trail if you’re looking for scenic water views. 

The trail was initially created for cyclists, but it’s gained popularity for hiking. Plenty of bikers are on the path, so always be mindful of these cyclists. 

And if you’re exploring these nature trails in New Orleans, always bring bug spray to be safe! Also, it would help to put on sunscreen before hitting the trails. 

You can join a tour to experience more of the New Orleans Bayou and wildlife

Bonnet Carré Spillway
Image Courtesy of MVN USACE

Plan Your New Orleans Hiking Trip With Pilot!

If you’re ready to explore the natural sights and trails of New Orleans, make sure you come prepared. Use a reliable travel planner like Pilot to help map your itinerary and explore as many trails as possible. 

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Collaborate stress-free with your travel companions and have all the features you need all in one place with Pilot. It’s completely free and ready for you to try it out now!

Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

Abigail Sinsona Blogs
Written by:
Abigail Sinsona
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Abigail is a travel enthusiast who enjoys trying new foodie destinations. She graduated with a degree in Creative Writing and has worked as a web content writer since 2010. She enjoys writing about travel, lifestyle, beauty, hair care, and wellness.

Read more about this author
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