Louisiana's Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is a hands-on opportunity to experience one of America's untamed natural wonders near Lake Charles, LA. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the trail:
1. Where does the Creole Nature Trail start?
The trail loops through Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes along the coast. A great place to start your journey is at the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point, 2740 Ruth St. Sulphur just south of Exit 20 on Interstate 10, just south of Sonic Drive-In. To view an interactive trail map, click here.
2. How long does it take to drive the Creole Nature Trail?
The core loop is 108 miles and can take the better part of a day (6-8 hours) to adequately enjoy all of the stops along the route. The entire trail is 180 miles with eastern & western extensions along the coast. If you only have half a day (4 hours), consider doing one side of the trail by going down to the Gulf of Mexico and head back up the way you came. For perspective, if you were to head directly from Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point to Holly Beach on the Gulf, it would take rough 45 minutes.
3. Where can we see alligators?
4. Other than driving the Creole Nature Trail, are there any other activities we can do?
Walk along the boardwalks at the Blue Goose Walking Trail, Wetland Walkway, or the Pintail Wildlife Drive trail. Bring a bucket to collect seashells along the Gulf Coast beaches, like Holly Beach or Rutherford Beach, or take the Cameron Ferry to spot dolphins! You may even try your hand at crabbing, fishing, or birding along the way.
5. Are tours available?
Grosse Savanne’s vast property of over 50,000 acres is nearly split in half by the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, a nationally acclaimed “Louisiana Outback” wildlife and photography trail. Grosse Savanne Eco-tours has unlimited access to a multitude of various ecotypes including both fresh and saltwater marshes, cypress swamps, native coastal prairies, pine forest plantations, and agricultural lands.
6. Are there any places to eat along the trail?
Food can be purchased at food trucks, grocery stores, and gas stations such as Anchors Up Grill, Brown's Food Center, Cajun Fast Mart, Canik's Grocery, Chesson's Grocery, Darla K Food Mart, and The Last Stand. In the mood for a picnic? One picnic area that offers great views of the Intracoastal Waterway is Intracoastal Park. The park features a number of amenities including pavilions, camper sites, two boat launches, picnic tables with barbeque pits, and a playground for the kids. The Gulf beaches also offer great spots if you bring a blanket or just want to have a tailgate lunch. Make sure to pick up whatever items you bring to a picnic area such as bottles or other trash.
7. Where are restrooms located along the trail?
Services are limited in Louisiana’s Outback, however many of the grocery stores and gas stations offer restrooms. The Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center (1428 Highway 27 in Bell City) is open to the public Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.
8. Where can I buy bait and tackle for fishing and crabbing?
Worms, shrimp, mullet, crickets or chicken necks, or any bait you want to use to catch fish or crabs along the Creole Nature Trail can be found at gas stations and grocery stores such as Bayou Convenience Store, Booth's Grocery, Brown's Food Center, Chesson's Grocery, Cajun Fast Mart, and many others.
9. Where is the best place to view birds?
During the fall, winter, and spring, the Creole Nature Trail bird population soars as hundreds of thousands of migrating birds make their annual migration following the Central and the Mississippi Flyways. Popular locations include Peveto Woods Sanctuary, Wetland Walkway, Rutherford Beach, and Pintail Wildlife Drive. For Area Birding Guides for the Advanced and Beginners, A Complete Birding List with Seasonality, and Recent Bird Sightings, click here.
10. Do you have any tips?
Before you hit the trail, pack your sunscreen, mosquito spray, beach towel, camera, and smartphone. You never know what kind of wildlife you’ll see! Services are limited in Louisiana’s Outback so make sure to fuel up before you head out. We suggest bringing some links of boudin for the road trip! A FREE personal tour app is available to download in iTunes and Google Play (just search "creole".) The app is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese. It's like having a tour guide in the vehicle with you!