I hiked this trail today as a day hike. I took the advice of many others and parked at the C.D. trailhead and walked up Longleaf Road (just under 3 miles) to the northern trailhead of Backbone. Along the way I stopped at the site of the Red Dirt Lookout tower, which was no longer there, because, as I just saw on firetower.org, it was removed in 1983. The hike was going smoothly until I got to the campsite with the overlook at the 7-mile point (4 miles in from the north trailhead). While the trail was well-worn, well-marked, and well-correlated to the GPS map up to that point, at the campsite it diverged into several tenuous footpaths. I followed each of these until they faded out, returning back to the campsite each time. Finally, I just descended the hill and walked towards were the map tracing showed the trail should be. I tried to catch that little straight south segment on the easternmost tip of the loop. I walked through the woods in a zig zag pattern crossing where the trail was shown on GPS 6 times, overlapping by at least 100 yards each time. I saw no sight of it. When I got to Bayou Cypre, I walked up and down the banks a bit each way looking for where the trail crossed the creek. Still nothing. After crossing the creek, and looking again for the trail from that bank, I just bushwhacked 2 miles southwest towards what was marked as a little forest road connecting back to Longleaf Vista Road. That was non stop thick brush and thorns and was generally not fun. The "forest road" turned out to be the Turpentine trail. I hiked it back to Longleaf Vista Road and walked back up the road to the C.D./Backbone south trailhead where I parked. My total distance 11.4 miles, including searching.
Looking through some other users' GPX tracks of the hike, you can see that they did not follow the southern half of the trail as marked. Clearly the trail does exist and I messed up somehow, but losing the trail at the same place the trail diverged from the map made it much worse.
* I would recommend starting at the southern trailhead (you could still park at the north trailhead and walk down the road to begin with if you did not want to end with a road segment). The northern half of the trail is a sand path that is well-marked (yellow arrow blazes) and matched the map here on AllTrails and other sources. I actually don't know what the southern half of the trail looks like.
* Pros: extremely quiet (not even car sounds or overhead planes); clean (I didn't see any litter); unique rocky terrain with a surprising amount of elevation change for Louisiana; probably a good trail run; 4G coverage throughout the hike.
* Cons: map does not match the southern half of the trail; nothing in bloom when I went in April.
I will probably come back to this and other trails in the Kisatchie National Forest, but I will do a much more thorough map recon first.
Susan C. on Longleaf Vista Interpretive Trail
Nice trail ..Good to see vegetation and trees returning after forest fires...back about 30 years ago there were huge beautiful pines and wild jasmine and honeysuckle. The vistas are beautiful and peaceful...
My children and I had a great hike Saturday. Beautiful views. Nice trails. The only complaint I have and maybe its because I m new at this. but sometimes the trails were confusing because they have several trails that lead close together and not all of the markers telling which one was which was there but we still ended up making it the whole Way, just by using a little common sense lol
Did the 48 mile out and back from Woodworth a couple weekends ago. I started on March 10th at about 16:00 and came back on the 11th at almost 22:00, so about 30 hours total. The trail was really nice, just a lot of woods, and not much to see, but very peaceful. Like the other review says, there was no water for about the first 5 miles out of Woodworth but after that, all the creeks were flowing well. The trail was really muddy at a lot of parts, so make sure you plan for having soggy shoes. I camped near the Castor Creek area, and not too many bugs were around. Over the last 2 miles before I got back to my car I saw 3 of the biggest bobcats I've ever seen, eyes easily 2 feet above the ground, so that was really cool.
nice hike, wild azaleas were blooming and some dogwwods.hiked it from the south entrance and walked the road back,gps indicated 11 miles total with 8.25 of that on the trail and the difference was walking the road back to the trailhead. Southern part was nicer, walking the road was not much fun.
whether it's your 1st time or training for multi nights out this place has it all... free range to trek throughout the huge park or stick to multiple trails that run into each other .... all trails are clearly marked with little orange markers... hikers are free to camp anywhere in the park.. beautiful landscape lush with wildlife... we personally walked upon and close to several turkey and deer... be mindful there are pigs in the forest... very kid and pet friendly
Went for a four day hike and get away. We parked at the Caroline Dorman parking lot and decided to hoof the road section first. It rained for most of the second morning as we hiked to the river in order to find a good spot to spend two days. Our things were soaked, but there is enough fat pine to start a fire in wet conditions. We made sure we were pretty far from the trail as not to disturb anyone with our wilderness shenanigans. So we roughly hiked half in a few hours, camped a few days, then hiked the rest on our last day. This is when things got a little crazy. On our hike out, you are ascending hills to the tops. At this time, the heavens seemed to open up and Thor's wrath was set upon us. I even had the urge to expel "IS THIS ALL YOU GOT!" with lightning strikes in the not so distant surrounding. Overall, I very much enjoyed the hike. A great trail to get away, spend a few days camping near the river, and getting back in touch with the wilderness.
went January 26th 2017 came out on the 27th, started in woodworth and did a in and out overnight hike. Did not complete the whole trail, i hiked 6 miles out and back tracked back to my car. Was a well established trail with lots to see, it was really beautiful out there.