Acadiana Park Nature Station

EASY 40 reviews

Acadiana Park Nature Station is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lafayette, Louisiana that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
55 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wildlife

bugs

The Nature Trails are open for exploration every day of the year, from dawn until dusk. Located in a wooded section of Acadiana Park, a 110 acre facility in the northeastern corner of Lafayette, Louisiana (south-central Louisiana), the Nature Station and its accompanying 3+mile trail system is owned and operated by the Division of Arts & Culture, in the Department of Community Development, Lafayette Consolidated Government. Environmental education programming began here in 1974 as an offshoot of our parent organization, the Lafayette Science Museum. As a result of increasing demand for our programs, the Nature Station was constructed in 1978. Since that time, our staff has conducted field trips, workshops, and other educational activities and programs for many thousands of school children and adults alike. Ecologically, the Nature Station Trails are situated at the juncture of two major systems: the Gulf Coastal Tallgrass Prairie (or remnants thereof), and the Mississippi River Floodplain. Several thousand years ago, as a result of large volumes of meltwater streaming southward at the end of the last "Ice Age", the ancient Mississippi River strayed westward into what is now south-central Louisiana, expanding its floodplain by about fifty miles, and flowing through this area for approximately one thousand years. As glacial meltwaters gradually subsided from the north, the river moved back into its "original" stream bed; a course which it continues to follow today, taking it through the cities of Baton Rouge (fifty miles to our east) and New Orleans (one-hundred- twenty-five miles to our southeast), before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico, some one-hundred miles south of New Orleans. As a direct result of these historic climatic/geologic changes, present-day Acadiana Park straddles this ancient juncture of river and prairie, with the prairie terrace itself laying some 45-50 feet above the adjacent floodplain (where the Nature Station itself is located). Separating these two land forms is a wide, bluff-like shelf (escarpment) which was actually the western bank of the ancient Mississippi. Thus, present day Acadiana Park supports three major habitat types: a bottomland hardwood forest on the Mississippi River floodplain, a transitional oak-hickory forest on the escarpment, and the remnants of what once was a tallgrass prairie on the prairie terrace. Of course, each of these major habitats supports its own plant communities; and in turn, each plant community supports its own compliment of animals. While the plant communities are pretty much fixed, the animal communities vary according to yearly seasonal cycles.

hiking
11 days ago

I like to use this trail as "training" its perfect 5 miles thats good for breaking in new boots, trying new gear, or stretching your legs to prepare for a bigger or longer trail. Good for kids too just bring a stick to hold out infant of you to knock down spider webs and watch for snakes.

trail running
1 month ago

Very pretty trail. with the usual bayou country inconveniences...namely spider webs everywhere. The good news is that of the 25 or so snake varieties in Louisiana, only 6 are commonly found in the park. But nothing is free in this world - they're the 6 most venomous!

The map here does not reflect all the trails south of the canal, nor the fun boardwalk, but they'll be the first things you see. Watch for snakes (ref: above) as they are there. I saw a big cottonmouth just off the Palmetto Loop. You will also see lilies, palmettos and incredible live oaks...Enough to make you sad human society is expanding.

Some paths run by the canal. I didn't see any gators, but it's not the one you see that gets you. Be careful and have fun! :)

3 months ago

It’s a very easy hike
It’s walk in a park kinda thing

hiking
6 months ago

Great place to spend a morning. Enjoy a nice walk in the woods, canoeing in the vermillion, experience the nature station

hiking
Sunday, May 07, 2017

Cool trail but a little overgrown and buggy.

trail running
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I run here pretty often. My favorite time of the day to run trail is in the afternoon. The position of the sun makes the trail beautiful. I've ran the trail in the morning and it was purdy scary, snakes were everywhere especially on the vermilion ridge. Then about every 20 yards I was running through a a massive spider web (my kung fu is strong). Its a fun trail that does have some small up and downs. For more distance you can just do laps the trail doesn't get boring.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Good mountain biking trails.

hiking
Friday, December 30, 2016

This is a great place to hike with young kids, Cub/Boy/Girl Scouts. Lots of boardwalk trails. The nature station is great for the kids to see lots of things up close. Great staff that is knowledgeable about the area.

hiking
Sunday, October 09, 2016

fun family trail especially for little ones

hiking
Monday, May 30, 2016

It was okay for Louisiana. Mosquitos was AWFUL! Had to leave. Nothing fantastic, just an outing....

hiking
Thursday, January 28, 2016

I like hiking these trails because they're so close to town and easy to get to. We like to make the hike longer so we start at the front entrance, walk to the Nature Station, hike down the boardwalk to the back coulee, follow the coulee to Shadow Bluff drive, walk a short distance on the road to cross the coulee, then hike the new back trail loop.

walking
Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sweet little trail on the edge of town, close enough to get there after work for a quick walk in a natural setting before dark. The Nature Center is a beautiful building that blends in quite well to its surroundings.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

It's a good day hike if you live in the Lafayette area, they have some beautiful trees including a massive oak out on the main trail.

hiking
Monday, February 16, 2015

The trails at Acadiana Park are pretty nice. They have the old one by the Nature Station, a newer hiking trail off of Shadow Bluff Dr., and Mountain Bike trails near the tennis courts.

20 days ago

hiking
5 months ago

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hiking
5 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

walking
Sunday, March 19, 2017

hiking
Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

hiking
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Thursday, December 29, 2016

hiking
Monday, December 26, 2016

backpacking
Friday, December 23, 2016

hiking
Friday, November 11, 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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