- Just 61 miles long, the Mississippi River Trail in Louisiana follows the levee on the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans or Algiers (across the river).
- The trail is paved but disconnected, but easy to follow because of the river. It is also popular, so you will meet other people along the way.
- Biking next to the river, you will likely see frogs and salamanders. You can fish for black crappie, blue catfish, and blue crab, but watch out for the scarlet snake, the Louisiana pinesnake, and alligators!
Many people know Louisiana for Cajun cuisine and Mardi Gras, which takes place every year. However, it also has a lot to offer when it comes to wildlife and nature. Louisiana is home to 40% of the wetlands in the United States. The state contains a staggering number of lakes, bayous, and rivers.
Not only can you see amazing landscapes, but there are tons of fascinating wildlife. You can even see the rare white alligator, if you happen to be at the right place at the right time. Also, of course, there is the Mississippi River.
If you love exploring new places while sitting on the seat of a bicycle, Louisiana is a great place for you. There are many trails from which you can choose, including the longest biking trail in Louisiana. Which trail is this? Read on to find out!
The Longest Biking Trail in Louisiana
The longest biking trail in Louisiana is the Mississippi River Trail. Essentially, this is a developing 61-mile trail. It’s part of an effort to create a paved route for cyclists and pedestrians that extends along the length of the Mississippi River. This trail is not localized to Louisiana. In fact, the completed trail will stretch for thousands of miles, all the way from Minnesota to Louisiana.
A famous, popular portion of the trail in Louisiana is situated alongside the main river levee in New Orleans. It extends for about 20 miles. This is a great way for both locals and tourists to experience the water and the surrounding area. However, there is a total of over 61 miles along this path in Louisiana. It does consist of multiple disconnected parts.
This trail goes through the parishes of Jefferson, Orleans, St. Charles, St. James, and St. John the Baptist.
The Mississippi River Trail Route
The most popular section of this trail starts at Audubon Zoo and goes all the way to Rivertown. Many people who start at the zoo plan on spending some time there. After this, you will bike for 6 miles through what is essentially a commercial area.
After you get to the Colonial Country Club, you will have access to amazing views of the Mississippi River and the boat traffic on it. Between the country club and Rivertown, you’ll see lovely homes on your right and the roaring river on your left. Once you get to Rivertown, there’s a pier where you can enjoy the view or just relax.
If you prefer to keep going, you can take the trail all the way to the end, to Venice, Louisiana. At this point, you’ll be right next to the Gulf of Mexico.
Planning for a Tour of Louisiana’s Longest Biking Trail
Even though you do not need to be an expert cyclist to ride this trail, you should keep the weather in mind. Most people will not want to choose a day of inclement weather to ride. Additionally, you should also keep in mind that you may not want to ride when it is too sunny. There is very limited shade along the trail if you are riding in hot weather.
Additionally, the trail can be busy because it is very popular. There may be many pedestrians, cyclists, and joggers on the trail while you are there. As long as you are okay with that, riding on this trail should not be too difficult for you.
Navigating the Route
For the most part, you are going to be biking along the Mississippi River. Even though the trail is somewhat disjointed at some locations, as long as you stay by the river, you should be able to make it to the next section when one section ends. Just keep in mind that if you do this, the entirety of your path likely won’t be paved, and you might be running into local traffic.
Of course, it is always helpful to have access to a map while you are on the trail. Even though you can pretty much ensure that you stay on course just by making sure that you’re still close to the river, it still helps to know exactly where along the path you are. You can find a map online.
The Mississippi River Trail Difficulty
This trail is generally considered an easy route. Although it is the longest biking trail in Louisiana, it is short compared to some other trails. Additionally, you’ll be riding on asphalt the entire time, meaning the surface is not likely to present any problems. The route is relatively flat. Because of this, it’s likely that even novice bikers won’t have much of a problem riding the entire length.
However, keep in mind that it is not one continuous paved trail. It’s a system of disconnected paved trails located on the levees along the banks of the river. This means that you might run into some sections that are not paved. These may possibly be a little bit harder to get through.
The trail doesn’t make it too hard to stay on course, considering that you are basically going to be biking along the Mississippi River the entire time.
Wildlife on the Longest Biking Trail in Louisiana
There are many animals that have made Louisiana their home, comfortable in the warm climate. If you spend time around the water, you are likely to see the American bullfrog, Louisiana slimy salamander, southern cricket frog, and many other amphibians.
Take a closer look at the water, and you’ll see many fish and crustaceans as well, such as the black crappie, blue catfish, blue crab, and more. There are many species of snake, such as the scarlet snake and Louisiana pinesnake. You may also see a gopher tortoise and possibly even an American alligator.
There are also many mammals who thrive here. These include the Louisiana black bear, long-tailed weasel, and big brown bat, among others. You’ll also see hundreds of species of birds while you are on the trail, in addition to insects and spiders native to the area.
Where Is the Mississippi River Trail Located on a Map?
The endpoints of the Mississippi River Trail are: a) Audubon Park in New Orleans to State Road 44 and East 29th Street in Reserve (west of Lake Pontchartrain near La Place); b) Patterson Drive in Algiers Point (across the river from Jackson Square in New Orleans) and State Road 18 in St. James Parish
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Jacqueline Nix
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