Looking for something to do with the whole family? Need to get out of the house for some fresh air? Biking on the Tammany Trace is an activity that everyone will enjoy!
A Quick History
The Tammany Trace or simply “The Trace” as it’s known to most, is a multi-purpose recreational trail that runs throughout St. Tammany Parish, all the way from Covington to Slidell. Originally the Illinois Central Railroad, the space was purchased by the St. Tammany Parish government in 1992, and since then has become Louisiana’s only “rails-to-trails” transformation. If you were to bike the whole thing, you’d be biking about 31 miles one way!
Planning Your Trip
There are many different places you can start your ride on The Trace especially if you have your own bike, but if you’re in search of a bicycle to get your outdoor adventure started, you’ll want to visit one of the trailheads—most of them have bike rentals nearby!
The Covington Trailhead: Surrounded by plenty of locally-owned restaurants, the Covington Trailhead has public restrooms and depending on the day, live music, farmer’s markets, and more!
The Abita Springs Trailhead: You’ll find a park, playground, and splash pad at the Abita Springs Trailhead. If you’ve got time, visit the Trailhead Museum for a neat history lesson. Biking in June? Look out for a bicycle parade and feel free to join in!
Koop Drive Trailhead: The official headquarters of the Trace, this trailhead has plenty to do. Here you can find restrooms, water fountains, picnic tables, a ranger station, and most notably, Kids Konnection—Louisiana’s first fully inclusive playground for children of all abilities. The Children’s Museum of St. Tammany is also located here.
Biker’s Note: If you’re biking from Koop Drive to the Mandeville Trailhead, look out for the tunnel!
The Mandeville Trailhead: Stop here for water, bathrooms, and a splash pad. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, the Mandeville Lakefront isn’t a far detour. Go off trail and bike through scenic Old Mandeville to catch a beautiful sunset!
The Lacombe Trailhead: You’ll find some of the most scenic views and even a drawbridge when biking through Lacombe. If you have time, visit the Bayou Lacombe Museum or the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.
The Slidell Trailhead: Treat yourself to local restaurants nearby for a taste of New Orleans or venture to Heritage Park, Camp Salmen Nature Park, Olde Towne, or the 9/11 Memorial Plaza.
Once you’ve chosen your starting point, mapped your route, and secured a bicycle rental (or brought your own), it’s time to ride! Take in the scenic waterways, wildlife, and sights and sounds of the bayou.
A few things to remember as you enjoy the Louisiana outdoors:
- Bring plenty of water and take lots of water breaks (there aren’t any public water fountains in between trailheads)
- Wear the appropriate clothing for the activity (if you’re biking in the Summer months, be prepared for HEAT)
- Wear sunscreen and/or wear a hat (while a lot of The Trace is shaded, there are plenty of stretches that are bright and sunny)
- If you’re planning to stop at each town along the way, bring your wallet (there are many local restaurants near The Trace and you’ll be sure to work up an appetite)
The next time you’re looking for something to do, get outside, enjoy The Tammany Trace, and take in all the natural beauty that Louisiana has to offer.
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