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Northlake Nature Center South Loop

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Fontainebleau State Park

Northlake Nature Center South Loop is a 2.1 mile loop trail located near Mandeville, Louisiana that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 2.1 miles Elevation Gain: 26 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly



bird watching




This hike goes through wetlands, pine forests and hardwood forests. Some of the hike is on a former road and a natural gas pipeline. The hike also has a boardwalk and bridge over a beaver pond. There are a fair number of scenic areas on the hike. You may see a wide variety of birds and other wildlife in the area. Note there are a lot of ticks.

9 days ago

This was a nice afternoon! mostly shaded trails, different types of terrain. We saw tons of salamanders and snakes so be aware of your surroundings.

11 days ago

It has some short boardwalks in the beginning then multiple dirt trails you can take. Dog friendly but lots of signs about different snakes, so be careful. A good amount of people when we went on a Sunday afternoon.

3 months ago

Nice walking but due to recent rains parts were muddy. I'd like to come back and do other trails here.

10 months ago

This was my first time doing this trail, or any trail really! Trails were fairly well maintained. the South Loop trail starts out on the pipeline, and that is the least maintained/grown up part but it is not impassable and you will see a sign when the trail turns back into the woods.

Sun May 26 2019

The map at the entrance is not exact. Confusing, but an easy walk. Seen the gator over the bayou bridge. You can easily get off trail with the bypasses. I would bike this trail rather than walk it.

Wed May 15 2019

Have done these trials numerous times, as i grew up not far from here. Sometimes can be muddy and can obviously have bugs.

nature trips
Mon Oct 08 2018

Great spot but bring the bug spray! Trails are clearly marked and well-maintained. I was told a good time to visit is in April when the flowers are in bloom.

Fri Jul 27 2018

Very easy trail, much like the Fontainebleau Trail, it's very flat and can have some puddles to navigate around when it's been raining. Better hiking when it's below 80 degrees, the thick cover and swampy area tend to be extremely hot and humid. There's several different paths around the area with several geocaching spots.

Sun Jul 22 2018

Did south and north loop. North loop less exciting, but both are fun. Will definitely return and do the other trail.

Fri Jul 13 2018

Simply beautiful, make sure and wear boots in summer. The swamp is picturesque and the boardwalks are nice, the trails are wide and much more extensive than shown here, I did not have my tracker on but there are at least three trails, again, all well trafficked and wide. We saw no Gators but plenty turtles and one snake.

Thu Jul 05 2018

Great views of Louisiana swamp land. dogs loved it

Sun May 13 2018

Nice easy walk! Don’t forget your bug spray!

Tue Apr 24 2018

Favorite place to go and think. You can bring cat food/ dog food and feed the turtles in spring and summer.

Mon Mar 05 2018

No people and easy walk.

Sun Nov 12 2017

not really a Mtb trail, but so much fun

mountain biking
Tue Nov 07 2017

Great easy ride for begginer MtB. love the hike as well

Sat Aug 19 2017

Very nice trail. Lots of trails off main trails,but well marked. I wore out before hiking entire trail . Well maintained and easy.

Sun May 07 2017

The trail is nice, but the stretch on the East side of the trail provides no shade. Great view of the wildlife, especially at the beginning of the trail.

Thu Apr 13 2017

Fri Apr 07 2017

Great trail, with bathrooms, feed the turtles!

Sun Apr 10 2016

Enough uncharted loops to get lost. Dry enough to not have to change shoes when you get back to the car. A jewel for those of us living in the swamps and floodplains.

Tue Mar 29 2016

absolutely wonderful. the swamp is green and the turtles are basking in the sun. very nice learning experience for the kids. the 2 mi is nice but don't much like coming through the gas line area. the parking area is small but we'll shaded. I hope they get some of the buildings taken care of. the small amphitheater is great. a pleasant surprise in the middle of the woods.

Sun Aug 16 2015

Great nature trail to do with kids. I would not call this hiking, but more walking in the woods. Good opportunity to see wildlife and fun for younger kids.

Thu Jan 15 2015

We went in late December. We enjoyed the trail, very pretty. On the downside, our dog was full of ticks after we left.

Mon Aug 18 2014

The boards at the entrance make for a slightly slippery start, but the wooded areas and the beaver pond were very pleasant. It is a little close to civilization (some of the trail follows the utilities cut) but it was pleasant and close, so i will be back to complete the rest of the trails sometime soon (maybe when the humidity drops a little!)

Mon May 13 2013

I was expecting a little more out of this trail than what I got. Granted, I did get to see some Armadillos up close so that evened it out. I guess it was too close to civilization for my liking. I went down the South, and north trails which were through the woods and near the lake and creeks. But the whole time I was on the North trail I could hear a baseball game going on at a nearby park. And when I stepped out onto the main trail I was practically on the baseball field. But it was still enjoyable never-the-less. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy hike.

Wed Feb 15 2012

Northlake Nature Center is a decent set of trails for short hikes. The three main trails together make for roughly a 4-mile hike. When my son and I hiked it, we were part of a group attempting a 10-mile hike at the Nature Center. That required us to make several loops in some instances, which quickly became monotonous and a bit taxing. Overall, it's proximity to the local population center and decent trail conditions make this a good choice for a short hike.

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