As one of only 27 All-American Roads in the country, the Creole Nature Trail in
southwestern Louisiana beckons visitors to discover its secrets and thrill to its
mysteries. Perhaps the most diverse road in the series, the 180-mile trail encompasses a
variety of habitats, species and ecosystems. This is the land of alligators and Roseate
Spoonbills, of the Hooded Oriole and giant shrimp. From acres of wetlands and wildlife
refuges, to miles of farms and forests, to seemingly limitless coasts and marshes, the
Creole Nature Trail offers a sanctuary for endemic flora and fauna, and a paradise for
vacationers. (RVers should consult their Trailer Life RV Parks, Campgrounds &
Services Directory for resorts along the way.)
Sportsmen will delight in the plethora
of outdoor activities, including fishing, crabbing, shrimping and hunting. Both the Gulf of
Mexico and Lake Charles offer ample challenges. Golfers will discover some of the best
greens in the country along the trail, while bird watchers will be hard-pressed to find
anything comparable to the viewing along the coast and at the Sabine National Wildlife
Refuge. Three hundred bird species can be spotted in the coastal areas; thousands of
waterfowl and ducks can be captured on film in the refuge. Nearby Rockefeller and Cameron
Prairie National Wildlife Refuges promise an abundance of bird viewing; the latter offers
glimpses of egrets, herons, cormorants and songbirds.
And all along this outdoor wonderland
with its myriad sights and sounds, visitors will discover that the history and culture of
Louisiana are equally enticing. From the pirates of the 1800s to the soldiers of the Civil
War, the state bears evidence of numerous peoples who have left their mark, good and bad,
on the land. The pirates of Calcasieu Parish continue to search for loot; the unmarked
graves of the Civil War lie on Monkey Island; and the Sabine Pass Lighthouse stands watch
two centuries later. Indeed, Louisiana is a melting pot of numerous ethnicities including
Cajun, Creole, Hispanic, Native American, African American, French and Spanish, and
reminders of each can be found today in the region’s dialect, dress, architecture and food.
The best way to experience the Creole Nature Trail, to sample the adventure and history,
the beauty and mystery, is via a slow, meditative drive in a comfortable RV accompanied by
a friendly copilot and a camera!
For more information on the Creole Nature Trail
All-American Road and other roads in the National Scenic Byways Program, go to www.bywaysonline.org.