Our Favorite Outdoor Hikes and Trails in Baton Rouge
When spring hits, it lasts for about a day. Welcome to Louisiana! But even with summer closing in, we’ll get an occasional day of low-ish temperatures that are just begging us to get outside. But where do you go? Baton Rouge offers quite a few outdoor adventures and trails. Here are some of our favorite outdoor adventures in Baton Rouge.
- BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center – 10503 N Oak Hills Parkway – closed Mondays, memberships available, pea gravel & boardwalks. If you haven’t visited this gem, put it on your list ASAP! Nestled in the middle of town, this is an oasis of beautiful Louisiana! For a mere $2-3 a person, you get to walk this trail, visit the aquarium inside, and advance your wildlife experience. As you walk this trail (which we’ve done with strollers) it is mostly shaded, and offers unlimited opportunities to view wildlife. We’ve seen endangered birds, grasshopper eggs, snakes, turtles, caterpillars, tadpoles, spiders, aphids, wild blackberries and so much more! This is a great spot to break out the iNaturalist app and document your sightings to share with others or get help identifying your observations.
- Burden Museum & Gardens – 4560 Essen Lane – Natural Playground, pollinator playground, flower gardens, sunflower fields. We adore this play area! They have two different play areas: the natural playground has a hollow tree climbing structure, log see-saw, wooden balance circle, spider swing, and a Little Library all in full shade. It’s like a life-sized fairy garden. Across the street is the Pollinator Playground, full of beautiful plants that attract butterflies and many other pollinators; the play equipment follows that theme! It consists of a hive climbing structure, dragonfly see-saws, shaded seating for chaperones, and even a pergola with picnic tables (kid & adult sized!) and being located off Essen there’s a plethora of lunch places to visit and grab a picnic lunch!
- BREC’s Manchac Park – 19010 Old Jefferson Hwy – trail, dog friendly, This trail is 1.0 mi long and takes an average of about 21 min to hike, but if you have observers like me plan more for around 45 min. This is one of our favorite family hikes in town. We’ll often load up the whole family, dog included, and head out to spend the day exploring the woods! We break out the SEEK app to identify plants and animal prints and it becomes an educational outing. With new plants and views of the bayou it’s got a little of all the best things of Louisiana life. With Chick fil A right down the road, we’ll hike, then one parent takes the kids to the playground while the other parent does a lunch run–extending our outdoor time.
- BREC Baton Rouge Zoo – 3601 Thomas Rd – while the zoo is currently under construction it still offers a lot of fun for your family, and I can’t WAIT for all the new features! The zoo has always been a fun escape for us. It’s a great path for wearing out little legs, easy on strollers, and lets face it, the playground is awesome! My kids enjoy the petting zoo & otters the most. Sometimes we’ll print off a Zoo scavenger hunt for them to check off all the things we see (this is great during our birds & mammals studies!)
- Highland Road Community Park & Splash Pad – 14024 Highland Rd – This is probably our favorite park to visit. Enjoy the open fields of greenery, the 18 hole disc-golf course, or drive all the way to the back taking a right on N Amis to visit the shaded playground or splash pad! Plenty of seating for everyone, swings, slide, climbing structures, and plenty of picnic tables under the pavilion & pergolas. Pack a picnic lunch or grab something off Seigen or Bluebonnet. My kids can spend hours here!
- Blackwater Conservation Area – 9385 Blackwater Rd, Baker – This trail is roughly a 1.3-mile loop trail near Baker, Louisiana. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 28 min to complete. This is a popular trail for birding, hiking, and trail running, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day. The best times to visit this trail are April through September. There is a branch off this trail that will take you right down to the Comite river where your crew can splash around in the water; so bring a change of clothes & shoes for the ride home! This is another leashed, dog friendly trail. Portions of this trail are in direct sun, but once you start your way down to the river, you’ll find it mostly shaded. Feel free to bring snacks or lunch, but be sure to leave no trace! Grab all that trash and make sure it leaves with you.
- LSU Lakes & “Beach” – 1058 Stanford Avenue – I’ll admit, while I love walking the 3 mile path around the lakes, I don’t love the “beach” part as much. But that’s only because I’m terrified of birds! But if you or your little ones like birds, grab some birdseed to toss into the lake and watch the turtles, swans, geese, and ducks come running. There’s plenty of space to spread out a picnic blanket for lunch, sit while the kids run, or just enjoy the sun. There are trees to offer shade and even a small dock to observe aquatic life. If you’re up for the walk, this is the beginning of a 3 mile loop that winds in and around LSU.