Heart of Louisiana: Bogue Chitto State Park
(WVUE) - If you're interested in a relaxing day canoeing or floating down a scenic river, Louisiana's newest state park may be the perfect spot for you.
You would normally take in the scenic Bogue Chitto River at a much slower pace, floating in an inner tube or paddling a canoe. But my guide, Len Bickham of Rocky Bottom Tubing, figures that with camera gear and a high river, a flat-boat and motor is a better choice.
"Most of the time during the summer your river level, probably average, waist deep," Bickham said. "There's all kinds of things, animals to see, deer, hogs, have seen at eagle a couple of times."
Along the way, you can spot some of the springs that help cool the water.
"You can see where the clay meets the rock and the water where the table or the water level was flowing out of the rock in the clay, you know?" Bickham said.
The river is the main attraction for Louisiana's Bogue Chitto state park, which offers an abundance of outdoor activities. And it gives you a chance to experience nature up close.
"You can go hiking, ride your bicycles," said Park Manager Katie Secott. "If you have a horse you can bring your horse to ride on our horse trails, canoeing, kayaking, tubing. We also have a beach area."
The park is a mix of upland forests and lowland swamps, with 90-foot bluffs that stand high above the river.
"Some good elevation, hiking, biking, we get a lot of people who like to train for different marathons and stuff because you have that difference in elevation," Secott said.
Most visitors come here for the river.
"We just got a whole bunch of friends that we like to get together and have group events, and we decided to come out here and have a good time and go down the river," said Chris Bernard.
On a day like today after a heavy rain, the river is about 2 feet higher than normal. And that creates a new set of challenges for anybody who's trying to paddle or float down the Bogue Chitto. Low trees and logs create obstacles in a fast-moving river.
"If you're unsure what a flood stage may be just give us a call," Secott said. "We are not going to tell you come out here if it's not looking like it's going to be a good day."
The Bogue Chitto is best experienced at a slower, relaxing pace, when you can unwind and experience the cool water, gentle breeze and the natural beauty of this state park.
The 1,700-acre park is located just south of Franklinton.
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