Boy Scout Road is a 4.6 mile out and back trail located near Lacombe, Louisiana and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking and is best used from September until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
26 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

This hike is through part of the Big Branch Wildlife Refuge. Most of the hike is on a well maintained roadway. The road is only open to hikers and mountain bikes. There are also a few side trails of the main trail. The hike travels through wooded areas, swamps and marshes. There is an abundance of wildlife to be observed. A wide variety of flora can also be found in this area. This area is subject to controlled burns to control under brush and possibly invasive species. Mosquitos and ticks can be a problem in warmer months. There are some very interesting migratory birds here in the winter months.

hiking
18 days ago

I saw my first red-cockaded woodpecker ever last week when I took my first walk ever on what is now one of my favorite trails in southeast Louisiana or south Mississippi. The Boy Scout Road trail in Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is an out-and-back hike of about 4.5 miles (total). In just over two miles you walk through one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

From the parking lot, the trail enters a longleaf pine savanna. You quickly move onto a half-mile long boardwalk over marshy wetlands. As the boardwalk ends, you begin to walk along Boy Scout Road through a large stand of longleaf pines.

Among the pines along Boy Scout Road, I saw the only red-cockaded woodpeckers that I can recall ever seeing. The “RCW” is the only woodpecker in North America to nest in live trees, and it strongly prefers longleaf pines. Not surprisingly, the near-collapse of longleaf habitat meant the near-extinction of the RCW. Thankfully, through the efforts of a variety of private organizations and federal agencies, the RCW and its longleaf pine habitat is making a comeback.

There are tens of RCW nesting cavities in the longleaf pines adjacent to the Boy Scout Road trail and the parking lot at the trailhead. Just look up in the trees that the Fish and Wildlife Service has marked with bands of white paint, and you’ll see the nesting holes. Many of the nesting cavities have a wide swath of sap oozing beneath the hole.

RCWs weren’t the only birds I saw. Great Egret. Great Blue Heron. Killdeer. Pileated Woodpecker. Two Red-Shouldered Hawks. Cedar Waxwings. Eastern Phoebe. Marsh Wren. And, a bird with an enormous white tail ascending through the woods...Bald Eagle? Along with scads of little birds whose identification requires more birding expertise than I have.

As the trail approaches the northern edge of Lake Pontchartrain, you can walk out of the woods onto an observation deck overlooking a vast marsh.

From this point the trail turns sharply westward along a low ridge running parallel to the Lake Pontchartrain marsh. Gone is the pine savanna with its open understory, replaced by hardwoods like this live oak covered in Spanish moss and thick underbrush on either side of the trail. A perfect place for the possum I saw sauntering through the shadows as the afternoon waned.

The trail ends on Bayou Lacombe. The sun was getting low in the sky on this winter solstice afternoon, but I had plenty of time to trek back to the trailhead before sunset.

This was a splendid walk for a sunny winter day. But, I’m sure it could be brutal in the summer. Only the section through the hardwoods along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain is shaded, so midday summer heat could be horrific. And, according to a regular visitor whom I met and chatted with (one of only three other hikers I saw all afternoon), the deer flies can be a terror beginning in May.

8 months ago

other than the boardwalk the trail is meh.... Make sure you bring a full bottle of OFF. The boardwalk was pretty cool but the actual trail is gravelstone. I would recommend the trail for bird watching.

9 months ago

I t

hiking
Sunday, January 21, 2018

great boardwalk and gravel trail. beautiful marsh scenery and 2 great overlooks.

hiking
Sunday, November 19, 2017

hiking
Sunday, May 28, 2017

Easy hike, but we were swarmed by deer flies. Made the entire hike unbearable. Enjoyed the boardwalk. Long stretches with minimal scenery and no cover

Sunday, March 19, 2017

It is a rocky road once you are on land. Most of the front end of the trail is pine, somewhat drags on because of how large the road is. Main wildlife to be seen is a diverse range of birds. The back end of the trail is a lot nicer. The scenery changes into a greener forestry. A good marker is 14 which is the first overlook, the second is at the end of the trail. There is hunting and also an educational environment on the trail.

hiking
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Took my 2 children they got a tad bored. But trail was nicely kept. It was a easy trail.

hiking
Sunday, January 01, 2017

very good beginner hike however watch the gravel road. it hurts after a while

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Nice easy hike. The boardwalk is well made. Plenty wildlife even in the winter.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Not bad. A little boring once past the board walk. Also, maybe not the best during the warm months. Sunscreen definitely needed as there isn't much shade.

hiking
Saturday, April 16, 2016

Nice easy trail. The board walk loops. if you continue following it all the way out, it is the same trail out and back. There is a observation platform maybe 2/3 down the path. Parking is free.

Monday, April 11, 2016

great trail for beginners.

Monday, August 03, 2015

My dad used to take me as a kid and we'd pick blackberries along the trail. Recently went back and it's still great.

hiking
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My father and I head out to this trail very often to take pictures of the wild life. It's a very easy trail with a path the entire way, and a wooden boardwalk over the bayou. If you come at sunset the bayou is gorgeous and reflects the beautiful hues of the sky.

hiking
9 days ago

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2 months ago

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4 months ago

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5 months ago

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8 months ago

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8 months ago

hiking
Saturday, January 06, 2018

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

hiking
Saturday, November 18, 2017

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Friday, September 08, 2017

hiking
Saturday, March 18, 2017

recorded Boy Scout Road

Friday, March 17, 2017

hiking
Saturday, December 03, 2016

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