For a short, beautiful hike I suggest crossing the long dam that separates the two lakes and hitting up the trail to the right labeled "Lost Woman." It's a BMX trail but it winds along a creek with mostly open woods surrounding you. The rest of sugar cane trail is recently thinned pine timber that while beautiful, it's a lot of walking through the same old tall pine trees. I will be coming back to this place this summer with my paddle board!
Took my cyclocross bike out and rode most of the trail, really enjoyed the long flowing stretches on the bike and the challenges the more technical sections of trail provided. The pine needles and leaves made the trail slick and obscured some ground obstacles otherwise I'd recommend sections for kids to mountain bike and trail running. Had a lot of fun.
Enjoyed this trail very much. As other reviewers suggest, park at the Caroline Dornan trailhead and walk the 2.5-3 mile road to the north end of the Backbone trailhead. The northern end has several burned trees from a fire last year (I believe) Make sure to pack at least 2 liters of water as the water sources are located near the middle to second half of the trail. Campsites are located throughout the length of the trail. Some better than others. We camped on a ridge at the first creek crossing. The southern end of the trail is much more scenic. Did a side hike on some of the Turpentine Trail. Next time I will check that whole trail out. It was pretty and worth the detour. All in all we did over 14 miles. I thought the trail was well marked. There was only one part where a very large tree was down on the trail, but the trail continued directly behind it. We just had to go around it. Take notice of the switchback. We happened to see a tent with hikers and headed that way to ask about water sources and they directed us to the trail that continued down the hill. We may have continued straight, but would probably have turned back after not seeing a trail marker. I suggest to properly prepare and if you are someone who is regularly active this trail will give you a workout, but not be unmanageable . Enjoy! Happy Hiking!
Just hiked the Backbone Trail as an overnighter. Parked at Caroline Dorman Trailhead and hiked the road 2.5 miles to the northern Backbone Trailhead to start. I recommend doing it this way if you have one vehicle so you don't have to hike the road after the trail to get back to your vehicle. Trail was nice and different than most hikes in Louisiana. Very primitive in spots and rocky. The southern part by the creek areas and Turpentine Trail is more scenic and more hilly. We packed enough water for the first day and filtered water for the last day at the creek crossing. We will be back for sure.
Nice hike. Fairly easy. Variation in terrain but nothing unmanageable at all.
Except for a portion of trail about 2.5-3 miles in from Caroline Dorman TH entrance where big trees have fallen across it and it's easy to get off trail. Which we did. We came in from backBone TH. It may not have been an issue coming in from Caroline Dorman TH.
The only way we found the trail again was luckily we ran into a ultra marathon runner who also missed it on his way back and was able to show us once he got his bearings back. He came in from that way so he had an idea of what he was looking for.
Just hiked the backbone trail this past weekend (Sept. 2-3). Was anticipating there to be water at the bathrooms at the Caroline Dorman trailhead where we started, but there was not, so be prepared for that and bring water before you go. Wore shorts as it was beginning of September in Louisiana, but I would STRONGLY recommend wearing hiking pants-had to do a bit of bushwhacking and ended up with many cuts after. As stated, your biggest challenge will be water, so be prepared. We got a late start and only hiked about 1.5 miles in the first night before finishing the rest the next day. Trail was a bit sandy and provided a good workout and escape from reality. Did not get any views as we did not have time to hike the highridge trail, bummer. All in all, I would probably go back and hike this again, but I would wear hiking pants and bring more water. Also, I mapped the hike along the road and it was just over 3 miles. Next time, I would knock this out in the beginning of the hike because hiking 3 miles in the brutal heat at the end of the hike was rough
Hiked this trail yesterday in the rain. It was a little muddy but held up well. Really good scenery for LA. This trail isn't too long or difficult, and my 4 year old walked the first 1/2 mile and back. There are some other trails in the area that you can tackle, which may make the drive more worth it.
This trail was fine the two times I have completed. Have not done the back loop which can be seen on topographical maps. The camping at beavers dam is good and is well worth the ten dollars. I would suggest dispersed camping for the adventurers, but it gets hairy with park hosts who are ignorant to the pertinent laws. Don't let that stop you. This place is beautiful and well preserved.
PS: I met an amazing AT thruhiker here. He was light and interactive :) we will remain friends.
Started at the southern end and I agree with the reviews that the southern half has better views than the northern half. I don't know that it is actually possible but there seemed to be a lot more uphills than there were downhills. Maybe do it from northern end to southern end and it'll be more downhills! Overall, not a really difficult trail.