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Backbone Trail
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Last Updated On 12/30/2015
Copyright 2005 - The Louisiana Hiking Club
The Louisiana Hiking Club
Trail Notes:

Backbone Trail 7.6 miles

This is Louisiana's only designated Wilderness Area and current forest
service management is exceptionally hiker friendly, with new signs and
ongoing trail maintenance. Primitive campgrounds abound, my personal
favorite being on the bluffs overlooking Kisatchie Bayou (Kisatchie Bayou
Campground is a treat unto itself), but they have NO WATER.

This trail is administered by Forest Service office in Natchitoches.  This
area historically considered an outlaw retreat.  

Trail:
This is a very flexible trail.  It is a nice trail that can be an easy weekend
trip, a day hike, or hiked in combination with the Caroline Dormon Trail
(11.7 miles). The Backbone Trail can also be hiked as a loop with a
pretty 2.5 mile road walk. Immediately, across the street from the south
trail head of the Backbone Trail is a large parking area which is also the
north trail head of the Caroline Dormon Trail.  

Starting from the north trail head the BBT is mostly along an old road bed.
The trail is clay based but parts of it are very sandy. Within 1.5 miles you
come to large sandstones and overlooks, the woods are mostly pine and
the trail can be very hot at times with little shade.  Horses have rutted
parts of this section and it is difficult to hike in the rain. There is very little
water the first 4 miles. At about 2 miles there is a spur trail, the High Ridge
Trail, which veers off to the left. The BBT trail continues to the right.
Watch for this as it is not well marked.

After about 4 miles, you head up a hill to the tallest overlook on the trail.
There are several established campsites here all along the ridge. This is a
very nice and a good place to camp or have lunch.  

Continuing on, just below the hill is Bayou Cypre, the only source of water
nearby. It is a clear, flowing stream and is on the left behind a stand of
trees. There is a very faint, old road trace leading to a nice campsite in a
bend of the bayou just at the bottom of the hill.  The last several miles of
the trail are spent climbing up and down hills, into and out of the several
drains formed by Bayou Cypre.

Some have water all year, most do not. The hills may be considered
moderate. The terrain is different than anything else in LA. You go down a
hill, across a drain or small creek, up a hill. Some of the larger drains have
created swampy areas.

There are lots of rocks on tops of some of the hills.  It is very interesting.  
Eventually the trailhead to the Turpentine Hill Trail on the left, BBT
continues right.

User Groups: Hiking/Horses.
No mechanization allowed.

This is a very popular hunting area.
Permits: No day use or backcountry permits required.

Directions: I49 to exit #119 onto La HWY 119 (approx. 30 mins north of
Alex). West on 119 for 7 miles. Turn right onto Longleaf Vista for
approximately 5 miles. South trail head parking is on the left. 2.5 more
miles and north trail head parking in on the right just after the Kisatchie
Wilderness sign.

Maps:


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