Walk in the Woods
Finally, it's here!
You know the feeling-- that first morning when the air is crisp and the breeze is blowing and fall is officially starting!
For us, that means the start of hiking season, and we are fortunate enough to live right next door to the wondrous Kisatchie National Forest. It provides us an vast array of hiking trails, campsites, kayaking and day use areas, and so much more to our community here in Central Louisiana.
On this particular day, we decided to celebrate our first wedding anniversary with a hike on the Kincaid Loop Trail. It's a 9 to 10 mile trail that loops around the peninsula that juts out into Kincaid Lake. Forestry Road 205 runs the length of the stretch of land, meaning hikers can tailor the loop to fit in the mileage desired.
Directions from Alexandria:
- Follow LA Highway 28 West toward the Coliseum, Kincaid Lake area.
- At Gardner, you will see a flashing yellow light. Turn left here onto LA 121 South
- Follow this road until you see a gas station, then take a left onto Forest Route 279/Valentine Lake Road. Follow this road for 4 miles.
- Follow signs toward Kincaid Lake Day Use area. You will also see signs for Valentine Lake. Look for Forestry Road 205.
- Forestry Road 205 will fork right before the camping/day use entrance gate, and bear to the left.
- There will be a parking loop and boat launch. The trailhead starts down by the beach and is a loop.
The trail is of moderate intensity, well maintained, and uses the blue diamond as a trail marker.
The trail runs alongside the lake and also up into the elevated portions, so a wide array of flora and fauna may be spotted trailside. On our adventure, we encountered gorgeous Great Egrets, Red Eared Slider Turtles, and a dazzling array of spiders. While we're on the spider topic, if you happen to be one of the first to walk the trail that morning, you most definitely will encounter spider webs across the trail. Not to worry, they're harmless, and help keep the biting bug population at bay!
The landscape is fantastically beautiful. Southern Wild Magnolias are prevalent and curtains of Spanish Moss drape over Bald Cypress and various Oak breeds tucked in among the pine species.
Looking to take a leisurely stroll and possibly camp overnight? The Loop has two RV campsites and two primitive camping sites. The primitive site about half-way through the loop on the southeastern side of the peninsula has the most to offer. There are two fishing docks, well-maintained camping sites, and enough distance from the RV campers to feel remote. The Loop also has a well-maintained beach with sitting areas to have a drink or a snack.
This trail is perfect for those interested in viewing or photographing wildlife, but be sure to keep your eyes open for the blue diamond marker. You might just miss it getting lost in the scenery!