As the oppressive heat of summer is finally beginning to wane, nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers eagerly anticipate the arrival of fall, a season characterized by cooler temperatures and vibrant colors. While Louisiana may not be the first destination that comes to mind for fall foliage, West Feliciana Parish, situated just north of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, offers a delightful surprise for those seeking the beauty of autumn. With its rolling hills, lush forests, and a charming small town, this region is the perfect destination for hiking, camping, and experiencing the breathtaking fall foliage.
Fall Foliage Exploration:
West Feliciana Parish boasts a diverse landscape, where rolling hills, lush forests, and picturesque waterways converge. The star attraction of autumn in this region is undoubtedly the captivating display of fall foliage. The deciduous trees, including bald cypress, sweetgums, and water oaks, paint the landscape in shades of red, orange, and gold. While the fall foliage season may not be as long as in more northern states, the colors are no less impressive. The best time to witness this natural spectacle is usually from late October to early November.
Take a leisurely drive along the winding roads of West Feliciana Parish, and you’ll be treated to a kaleidoscope of fall colors. The rolling hills and dense forests come alive with hues of red, orange, and yellow during the autumn months. Be sure to drive not just on the highways, but also the backroads to get the full experience.
Hiking Trails in West Feliciana:
The Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area boasts some of the most stunning hiking trails in the region. Explore the “Sunken Road” which has been in use since Native American tribes inhabited the area. You may even spot a few chipmunks preparing for winter, one of the few areas in Louisiana where they are found in nature. One of the highlights is the Clark Creek Natural Area, which features a series of waterfalls and cascades amidst the hardwood forest. The Clark Creek Trail offers both challenging and leisurely routes for hikers of all levels.
Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge:
Cat Island is a treasure trove of natural beauty. Traverse its serene trails through bottomland hardwoods and swamps, where you may spot various bird species, including migratory waterfowl. Here you can even visit the National Champion Bald Cypress Tree, said to be the largest one in North America, and the largest of any tree species this side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Audubon State Historic Site:
Offering a more historic backdrop, the Audubon State Historic Site provides a unique birding experience. Explore the property, learn about John James Audubon’s connection to the area, and hike their beautiful birding trail.
Mary Ann Brown Preserve:
Home to over 100 acres of hardwood pines, water ways, and wildlife, The Mary Ann Brown Preserve is a great place to spend a fall afternoon. You can walk the 2-mile trail to see the beauty of West Feliciana Parish.
Not far from the center of town, the West Feliciana Sports Park is home to a 6 mile loop trail. “The Beast” is a perfect place for you to hike, bike, and even practice your archery skills at the archery range!
For those who prefer two wheels over two feet, West Feliciana Parish offers an excellent opportunity for biking enthusiasts. The region’s gently rolling hills and scenic byways make it a cyclist’s dream destination, especially during the fall. Pedal your way through the parish picturesque countryside. The Tunica Trace, which passes through the area, provides a serene route for cyclists, offering a chance to witness the fall foliage up close while enjoying the fresh autumn air. As you make your way up, stop at local cafes and a farmers’ market (open Thursdays from 9 am to 1 pm) to refuel with delicious treats and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the parish’s residents. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a casual rider, exploring West Feliciana by bike is a fantastic way to experience the beauty of fall in this enchanting part of Louisiana.
Staying in West Feliciana:
You’ll want to spend more than just a day here. There are many options when it comes to great accommodations.
Nestled within the Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area, this campground offers a rustic camping experience. With basic amenities like picnic tables and fire rings, it’s perfect for those who want to reconnect with nature. The tranquil surroundings make it an ideal spot for stargazing around a campfire. If you don’t have a tent, stay in one of their cabins, like the Covered Wagon Cabin!
Lake Rosemound Bed & Breakfast:
If you prefer to stay close to nature but not in it, head to Lake Rosemound Bed & Breakfast. Situated on a beautiful private lake in the north part of the parish, this B&B offers a great base to explore the more scenic areas of West Feliciana Parish.
West Feliciana has multiple RV Campgrounds that are perfectly situated in between St. Francisville and the countryside. Bayou Creek RV Park is located on Tunica Trace Parkway, as you are heading towards Tunica Hills WMA. Shelby J’s RV Park and Peaceful Pines Campground are a great homebase for exploring the east side of the parish.
West Feliciana Parish is a small but well connected parish. If you want to spend your days in nature but your nights in luxury, St. Francisville is a short drive to any of these spots and is full of great accommodations. Check out the full list here.
Local Festivals and Events:
Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and celebrate fall at one of West Feliciana’s festivals. The Angola Prison Rodeo, held annually every Sunday in October, is a unique experience that combines rodeo entertainment with arts and crafts made by inmates of the prison. The Yellow Leaf Art Festival, aptly named for the fall, is always the last weekend in October. It features artists, music, and food from around the region. It’s a great way to soak up the autumn atmosphere and support a good cause. Mid-November, the St. Francisville Food & Wine Festival celebrates not only local food, but also chefs around the South. To check out the full calendar of events, click here.
West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, is a hidden gem for fall enthusiasts looking to hike through picturesque trails, camp beneath the canopy of vibrant foliage, and witness the magic of autumn in all its glory. Whether you’re an avid outdoor adventurer or simply seeking a peaceful escape from city life, this charming parish has something to offer everyone during the fall season. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to embrace the beauty of West Feliciana’s fall foliage. It’s a journey you won’t soon forget.