The Tammany Trace Takes You Off the Beaten Path and In Touch with Nature at Its Finest written by: timita The Tammany Trace is a 31-mile long trail that winds through the entire parish of St. Tammany. The railroads that used to connect parts of the parish are long defunct have been converted into scenic paths that any nature lover will enjoy. Part of the National Rail-Trail Network, this wildlife conservation area is the only one of its kind in the state of Louisiana and is used by upwards of 300,000 people annually.
Tammany Trace Activities
It really does not matter if you want to walk, jog, cycle, roller blade, or horseback ride. Almost all of the Trace is paved and relatively flat. This makes it a particularly lovely way for handicapped people to enjoy nature, too. But, sorry to break the news to you. Dogs are not allowed on any part of the Tammany Trace. Of course, the only exception is for service dogs.
Tammany Trace Trailheads
Trailheads are located in Abita Springs, Covington, Lacombe, Mandeville, and Slidell. Each one is a community center of activity and recreation with parks, pavilions, and playgrounds. They are worth a stop at all by themselves. In fact, you can begin your journey at either “end” of the route in Covington or Slidell.
The official start of the Tammany Trace is in downtown Covington. Previous visitors have said that it is much more convenient to start your journey at the Blue Willow or Camellia House. These two bed and breakfasts have safe parking for their guests, and the Camellia House offers loaner bicycles for guest use.
From here, the path winds slightly north and east to the town of Abita Springs. You will pass the Abita Brewery with its amazing microbrewed selections and free tours. It makes a brief stop at the center of town beside the Abita Brewpub Restaurant. The food is terrific and the local root beer is always ice cold.
Heading south, the next stop is the Headquarters for the Trace, midway between Abita Springs and Mandeville. Here you can get information on and learn about the history of the Trace. Make sure to grab a drink of water, use the clean restroom facilities, or just relax at the picnic tables. There is also a Kidz Klubhouse with a large playground for the kiddies.
Continuing in a southerly direction, the Trace heads into the historic section of Mandeville. As it nears Lake Pontchartrain it will veer right and take you east through Fountainbleau State Park. One of the most beautiful sections of the Trace is now before you. You will cut through this State Park, as well as the Tammany Wildlife Refuge and the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe. On this part of the trail, you will see a diverse mix of wildlife, cross several bayous, and meander over many of the 31 bridges that provide incredible vistas of these habitats.
Finally, you will cross the Lacombe Drawbridge and finish up in Slidell. There are plans to install another Trailhead in Lacombe, and it is sure to be as attractive as the others. The Trace will also extend further into the heart of Slidell and stop at picturesque Heritage Park next to the train station. There you will find a restaurant called the Times Grill, and one of their juicy burgers will be the perfect way to end your travels.
Out of state visitors are encouraged to make the acquaintance of the knowledgeable Trace Rangers. They can offer interesting facts and help with directions. When they ask for your zip code, please do not be alarmed. The parish runs a friendly competition for them in which the one who collects the most out of town zip codes in one month wins a prize. So, help a Ranger out, will ya?
Tammany Trace Hours Of Operation
Open from dawn till dusk, the Tammany Trace offers visitors a one-of-a-kind way to experience the best sights and sounds St. Tammany Parish has to offer. And considering that it is free, a small donation to the Tammany Trace Foundation would be worth the lifetime of memories such a trip will give you. We hope you enjoy the Tammany Trace and all that St Tammany Parish, LA has to offer.