Heart of Louisiana: Lake Claiborne and Lake D’Arbonne

Updated: Nov. 2, 2020 at 9:45 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As the weather begins to cool as we slip into Fall, some of you may be thinking about heading outdoors for some camping.

Louisiana has a couple of state parks that are located in out state’s “Hill Country”.

If you drive to a couple of our northern most state parks, you’ll find yourself in Hill Country. Lake Claiborne State Park near Homer is popular for its beach and fishing.

“It’s a great park,” says Mike Nichols. “It’s good, clear water.”

Nichols says he and a couple of friends fish Lake Claiborne a few times a year.

“When the fishing is good, it’s good. But it’s, like any, like when it’s tough, it’s tough.”

What does Nichols and his fishing buddies usually catch out here?

“Bass,” says Nichols.

There’s a large sandy beach with a picnic area nestled in the shade of tall pines.

“We decided we wanted to go have fun this Summer and we come out here and it’s beautiful. We love it,” says Tammy Barnett. “We got a spot on the water in out RV and we bought the boys and it’s funs. It’s family.”

If you’re throwing a frisbee and you want to try your hand at disc golf, this park has two 18 hole courses that are ranked among the best in the state.

“Disc golfers, they really love the rolling hills. It has a different scenery and they really love the hills going up and down,” says Greg Green.

“I got a 75. It’s the first time any of us have played this course and it is extremely technical. There’s a lot of trees everywhere. So you have to have a lot of accuracy to play this course. And there’s a lot of hills. It’s a lot of fun,” says Mike Contreras.

From Lake Claiborne it is only a 30 mile drive to Lake D’Arbonne State Park near Farmerville. Here the hills are crisscrossed with a number of hiking trails that go from kid-sized to hillside.

“We’re heavily wooded and people like that because it gives them an opportunity to come here. If they live in town, I live in an urban area and they can get back to nature,” says Penny Wainwright.

Wainwright, who is the park manager, likes to show off the kids trail. It’s an easy stroll for the young ones that lets them discover models of native animals.

“It’s the types of animals that we actually have within the park. And in North Louisiana,” says Wainwright.

Matt and Shelby Casto enjoy hiking and geocashing.

“So when when I grew up, I’m from Oklahoma and I’m from close to the Ozarks. The territory around here it basically just feels like the Ozarks to me,” says Matt Casto.

“There is a hill that you’re going straight up, especially if you’re doing any kind of geocashing to the geocashe point. It’s like uphill the whole way,” says Shelby Casto.

And Lake D’Arbonne provides a quiet getaway for Ron and Rose Hobson who do some camping, but also drop by for a picnic lunch.

“We come out here, enjoy the place, all the pretty scenery and then we have a picnic and then we usually listen to our preaching on the radio,” says Ron Hobson.

And there’s a long fishing pier that gets you beyond the tree line and over the water. It’s an easy place to drop a line. And there’s another benefit. After dark the pier is a place where you can get away from lights and enjoy the night sky and even the Milky Way rise above the water. These North Louisiana State Parks force you to relax in a gentle natural way.

Lake Claiborne State Park is located near the North Louisiana town of Homer and Lake D’Arbonne is in nearby Farmerville.

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