Heart of Louisiana: Hills and Trails of Lincoln Parish Park
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Bicycles have been zooming along these hilly wooded trails near Ruston for nearly two decades. The trails were designed by James Ramsaur, the manager of Lincoln Parish Park.
“You don’t actually need mountains,” Ramsaur says.
Ramsaur returned to his native Ruston in the early 90s, leaving the mountains of Colorado and bringing with him a passion for mountain biking.
“I felt like this piece of property had a lot of good opportunities for good, good mountain bike trails.”
He got labor help from the cycling club at nearby Louisiana Tech University, and in 1993, the trails opened and they’ve been drawing serious mountain bikers since.
“That meanders through the woods, can go up and down, believe it or not in an 11-mile loop here, you get about a 1000 ft. of climbing. So you got these little punchy climbs; the switchbacks are unique. I would say probably the first switchbacks in the south,” says Ramsaur.
The trail passes a man-made waterfall that balances the flow of water between the lake and creek. Andrew Neilson is a frequent trail rider at Lincoln Parish Park.
“Changed a little bit. It’s evolved over the past few years, so we’ve been trying to get some flow into it, some jumps, and I kind of mixed that in with the cross country side of things,” says Neilson.
“I think it’s the best-kept secret in Ruston, LA. I mean it’s amazing how many locals don’t know that this is here. So this park has actually grown, the trails have gotten better, and they were already excellent. It’s just, I mean, you come out here and spend an entire day, it’s pretty incredible,” says mountain biker, Ray Duval.
The big attraction is the big hill, Tomac Hill, named after a legendary mountain biker. It’s a 120 ft. loop drop that resembles a ski slope.
“Come over a hill, and once you get to that point, it’s all downhill from there. You don’t really have a way to stop or get off of it, so you just hold on tight and take the ride,” says Scott Greenwood.
“It’s just one of the best-built trails I’ve ever seen,” J.B. Yelverton said.
J. B. Yelvington, a pastor in Texarkana, drives two hours to ride here.
“They’re not the biggest hills. We’re not in the mountains here, obviously, but you have really nice hills, getting a great workout most of the time, but it’s still fun.”
There’s a lot more here than just bike trails. This parish park has a 25-acre lake with a swimming beach, fishing, and boating, and there’s also a campground.
“We have a campground with 33 RV sites, 12 tent sites, swimming, boating, lifeguards, and a beach,” park manager James Ramsaur says.
This is a park where the focus is on nature, whether it’s zipping along a trail or just enjoying a quiet getaway in the wood.
To learn more about Lincoln Parish Park and other Louisiana bike trails, go to HeartofLouisiana.com.
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