“A great route moving through various ecosystems throughout Fountainbleau State Park.”
— Ben Rosenberg
Sunday through Thursday: Open at 6 a.m. - Closed at 9 p.m.
Friday, Saturday and days preceding holidays: Open at 6 a.m. - Closed at 10 p.m.
This trail provides a great opportunity to move throughout several ecosystems commonly found in Louisiana from the coastal woods, to the bayou, to the marshes. Clear trails and low grades make this an easy 1/2 day for the family.
Features: Birding — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildlife
Need to Know
$2 entrance fee per person to the park.
The dirt trails have a number of small ankle-biting holes. Watch out.
Begin at the trailhead and follow the gravel path a short distance until you come to the first split in the trail. Take the left off of the gravel trail to follow the signs that will eventually take you to the Bayou Cane Hiking Trail
. This turn will put you onto the Fountainbleau Hiking Trail Loop
. Follow this trail until the next split in the trail which will be marked with a "Do not enter" sign on the left-hand option. Take the right-hand trail. This trail will come to a "T" intersection.
Taking the trail to the right will bring you down to the Cane Bayou, providing a beautiful view. Turn around and take the same trail back up until you reach the alternate trailhead for the Bayou Cane Hiking Trail
. Ignore trails turning off to the left. Here you'll find a nice lake with picnic table options. When you are done here, backtrack until you take the first trail to the right, which will put you back onto the Fountainbleau Hiking Trail Loop
Follow this stretch of trail until it re-converges with the trail you have already traveled over. Continue to backtrack until you come to the first turn off of the gravel path. Take another left to begin running on a new section of the Sugar Mill Nature Trail
. Watch out for cyclists. This trail will take you around on a well-cleared gravel trail. Another well-marked intersection will provide the opportunity to venture out onto the Alligator Marsh Boardwalk
The boardwalk has a few missing boards, so watch your step. It gives you the opportunity to see a number of species of ducks as well as alligators and catfish in the water. When you are done, backtrack back out to the Sugar Mill Nature Trail
. Follow this trail until you come to the beautiful live oak canopy. The trail at this point will take you back to the trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
Large amount of wildlife that varies depending on where on the trail you are. Deer, wild hogs, alligator, migrating wood warblers (several days a year), pine warblers, wood thrushes, Carolina chickadees, brown-headed nuthatches, a number of species of ducks and rabbits can be seen along this trail.
History & Background
One of Louisiana's oldest state parks, Fountainebleau rests on a land rich in history. From the Tchefuncte culture to the Acolapisa Native Americans, this land saw many inhabitants before yielding to European settlement in the 18th century. More than a century after Jean-Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville's 1699 visit to the region, planter and politician Bernard de Marigny, Sieur de Mandeville began to acquire land along Ponchatrain's north shore. Here, he built and operated a sugar plantation, which he named Fontainbleau, after France's Chateau de Fountainebleau and its adjacent forest south of Paris. De Marigny, an entrepreneur with a knack for real estate development, also founded the town of Mandeville. Although the plantation changed hands several times over the next century, 1,000 acres were eventually purchased by Louisiana's State Park Comission in 1938.