Louisiana may be known for great food, gators and the bayou. But it also has some great riding trails, and some of the best are the Claiborne Multi-Use Trails in the Kisatchie National Forest.
The Kisatchie National Forest has more than 604,000 acres of public land and 355 miles of trails for hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding and OHV use.
Among those trails are the 19-mile North Loop, 27-mile Woodworth Loop and 31-mile Boy Scout Loop of the Claiborne Trail system, which is in south Rapides Parish in the middle of the state.
The landscape is generally flat and he ground is sandy foam and clay. But there are ridges, gullies and rolling hills that help make the riding interesting. Riding through heavily forested pine is a lot of fun.
The loops are easy, moderate and difficult and have some fast sections. All the loops have some difficult parts, but the Woodworth Loop is considered the most difficult of the trio.
The trails are just 45 inches wide and rangers ask that you stay on the trails, not only to protect the environment but also to keep you from getting blown up. The Claiborne Trails are named after Camp Claiborne, a military base where more than 500,000 troops trained for WWII. At the time the camp was the third largest city in Louisiana. The trails were built in an area that officials felt had already been impacted by humans. There is believed to be unexploded ordnance still around so it’s important to stay on the trail.
Trail loops are marked with orange markings and the primary trailhead/staging area is the Loran Camp. Additional staging areas are at Ahtus Melder Camp (horses only) and Boy Scout Camp.
During busy times, the trails get up to 800 users a week. The fees are $5 per operator for Claiborne Trails, $10 per camp unit at Loran Campground.
To get there from Alexandria, take U.S. Highway 165 south through Woodworth for 14 miles to Louisiana Highway 112. Turn right on 112 and go about 3 miles to FS Road #258. Turn right and proceed 1.5 miles to the Loran Trailhead and Campground.
To get there from Forest Hill Louisiana Highway 112, take U.S. Highway 165 north 2.1 miles. Turn left on 112 W. Go 2.6 miles. Turn right on FS Road #258 and go 1.4 miles to Loran Trailhead and Campground.
Trails may close to motorized traffic due to excessive rain. For the latest updates, call the OHV Hotline at (866) 830-6467.
For more information, contact the Calcasieu Ranger District, 9912 Highway 28 West, Boyce, Louisiana 71409 Phone: (318) 793-9427 or fs.usda.gov/recarea/kisatchie/recreation/ohv/recarea/?recid=34647&actid=93.