Motor Home Fun in the Wilds of Kisatchie National Forest

By: Andrew Stratton

What do you think of when you think Louisiana? Most people would answer bayous, shrimp boats, and the mighty Mississippi emptying into the gulf. You probably don't picture a hilly landscape of old growth pines and awe-inspiring forest views. But, that's just what Kisatchie National Forest, in northern and central Louisiana, is all about.

The southern United States has lots of great motor home destinations, and Louisiana's Kisatchie National Forest is one of the best. It is located in five different districts, spread over a wide area. The total land area of the park is 600,000 acres, and each of the five districts has all kinds of things to do, see and enjoy.

The best thing the park has to offer is its pristine, natural beauty. There are hills and mesas, steep and rocky climbs, and overlooks where you can see the top of the pines stretching out below. Down in the valleys, there are old growth pine trees and grand old cypresses with their leaves forming a natural canopy.

The park is full of trails that wind through these deep, piney forests and bayous. The park has everything, from rolling woodlands to rocky mountains to swampland, and everything in between.

The woods are full of deer and smaller animals that go scurrying through the underbrush. You might catch sight of an armadillo or a raccoon, looking around on the forest floor for a tasty morsel.

Hang around the lowland bayous and you might even catch sight of an alligator! Remember, they are wild animals and unpredictable, so don't get too close.

Things to Do at Kisatchie

Each of the five districts of Kisatchie has a wonderful range of fun things to do for the whole family. The park is full of hiking trails and public recreation areas with picnic tables and barbecue pits. You're never too far from a lake or stream, and you can go fishing in the park.

They adhere strictly to Louisiana fishing regulations, and you have to be licensed and legit. But, once you cast your line, you're bound to come up with some of the region's famous catfish.

In the park, you can enjoy horseback riding, all-terrain vehicles and even hunting. Deer hunting season is quite an event in Kisatchie National Forest, and with the right licensing and gear, you can hunt in certain areas of the park.

Then again, you can always just grab a canteen and go on a hike. There are trails all over the forest which take you through its many terrains. It's well worth the walk.

Places to Stay at Kisatchie

There are camping options for everybody, whether you want to stay in a tent out in the middle of the woods, or would rather stay in your nice, comfy motor home. Recently, the park has re-designated certain roads for RVs and large motor homes. Large vehicles are not permitted in some areas, so you will want to check before you head out.

You can get a map ahead of time showing the routes that are RV-friendly at the park's official website. The new regulations were put in place to keep the park clean and minimize human impact on wild areas.

The park has nine campgrounds located right at the trailheads, but they are all pretty primitive. They all have restrooms and most have trash services. Some cater to different activities, like horse riding or hunting.

Of the 9 campgrounds, the best for motor homes are the Corral Camp and the Lotus Camp. Both are close to the Sandstone Trail, and the Lotus Camp is probably the most developed of all of them.

The nearest town with full-scale RV parks is Leesville. Pecan Acres is a small RV park, but with all kinds of services for RV drivers. Another good park in the Leesville area is Shady Lake RV Park, located on Highway 171, not far from Kisatchie National Forest.

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