Mountain Bike Trails According to Casey


>>Louisiana<<

*This site is currently under construction, so please bear with me...*



When the subject of mountain biking comes up, it's not likely that your mind goes straight to Louisiana, and I never considered that I'd ever add a Louisiana page to my trail descriptions... but alas, here I go.

Every year since we moved back to Texas I've tried to get back into the habit of riding, but with a new growing family, long work hours, etc, life has a way of crushing my best intentions, and it always seems to happen around the Holidays; shorter days, colder temps, busy weekends, traveling to see familly, etc... the next thing I know, it's May, and I think to myself, "self, maybe we should get back on the bike", then the cycle starts all over again.

This year I managed to make it through the summer with a somewhat regular riding schedule, entering fall with a full head of steam, even commuting to work a couple of days a week, then it happens; the time changes and I lose daylight, then comes a busy week of whatever followed by spending a few days at my grandmother's followed by another busy weekend that takes me straight into the Thanksgiving holidays that usually spells the end of my riding phase.

This year though, this year is going to be different. It's been more that 2 weeks since I last rode, and I'm not going to let this happen; I'm taking the bike to the inlaws in Shreveport Louisiana. I will find somewhere to ride, even if it's just on concrete. I began looking for trails in the Shreveport area - surely there's a park or something... Do you know how hard it is to find trail info in Louisiana? Well, I guess you can imagine. Finding the names of a couple of trails wasn't that difficult, but there was very little in the way of up-to-date descriptions. I dug up what I could and located them, here's what I found.


Eddie B. Jones Park (AKA "The Monkey Trail")
Location: SW of Shreveport, near Spring Ridge
Rider level: intermediate
Miles: about 10 (maybe more)
Fee: No

I decided to check this one out first, as it seemed to be the local favorite, and appeared to be the most "technical". I didn't know much about it, other than it's in a park southwest of Shreveport - park hours? Fees? We'll find ou the hard way... I set out thanksgiving morning to get in a cold (40 deg) ride before the big lunch. When I arrived, two of my questions were quickly answered - no fee, and it does have hours: open Thursday thru Monday 'til 5, closed Tues/Wed, and... holidays... that would explain the closed gates... Well, in my mature age and being a dad now, I'm typically no longer one to disregard the rules, but... I came all this way, and if I'm going to ride this trail, it's now. I parked near the church and hid my telling bike rack in the CR-V behind the dark tint.

The main trail head is deep inside the park, but as I made way in on the park road, I came to a point where the trail crossed the road... I took a right and was almost immediately introduced to a nice little jump and a twisting, winding trail. Things were interesting for some time, as the leaf-covered path quickly climbed, twisted and fell through the forest. The repeted, rythmic up, down, left right patterns proved entertaining for some time and I enjoyed the fact that I found myself airborne on several occasions, but after a while I found myself longing for some nice, long downhils or some faster, more "hammerable" sections, and I got tired of picking broad leaves from my brakes (it is November, after all).

Overall it was great fun - much better than I expected from La, but once I reached the end, I was ready to be done with it, although I still had a bit of energy to spare.

From what I read, the trail is about 10 miles long, however, telling signs suggested that changes have been made since the 3-year-old description I found was written. The trail seemed longer, but it's busy nature may have contributed to this illusion. There were also many signs of a recent race; the trail was littered with paper cups and several water bottles, and I was guided by various collored ribbons at critical turns and potential dangers.

There was really nothing "technical" about the trail, other than some roots and tight hairpins, so beginners in good shape will enjoy, but that shouldn't keep advanced riders from visiting, as at speed, the trails flow well and the advanced rider will find their rubber leaving the ground on a regular basis.

How to get there: From Shreveport, go south on Mansfield Rd to 525, aka "Colquitt Rd" (just south of Bert Kouns), then right, continue on 525 to 169 at Spring Ridge; left, then after about a mile, another left on 789. About 3 miles down 789 watch for a church on the right; just past it is the park entrance.


Bodcau
Location: NE of Shreveport, at the Bodcau Wildlife Management Area near Bellevue
Rider level: intermediate
Miles: 7 (maybe more)
Fee: No

Bodcau was next on my list. Again, I found little info on the trail, and the older descriptions said that there are about 7 miles of trails, but that more were being added... that was a couple of years ago. After riding the trails, and I'm pretty sure I covered everything, I'd say they are still at about 7 miles.

The only trail descriptions I found suggested that this is an out-and back ride with a couple of loops stuck to it, and that it's best to ride with someone that knows the trail... I found differently. The trail was actually well marked, and I never rode the same trail more that once in any direction. The system is basically one main loop with several outer loops tangent to each other and the main loop. I found that (riding clockwise) if you take a left at each intersection, you should cover everything.

I set out on "Black Friday" to ride Bodcau, expecting to be in the company of other riders enjoying their day off... but was surprised to find empty parking areas, in fact, I never encountered another rider.

I started with the bridge on the left side of the trail head area (this is the only trail I saw at first, as I was expecting an out and back ride). The trail was completely covered with leaves and was difficult to follow, in fact I blew several corners and even totally lost the trail at one point... but other than having to really focus on the path ahead, this proved to be a fun ride. There are some tight, twisting, winding, ups and downs like the Monkey trail, but there are also some pretty nice climbs and down hills, where trees wizzed by as I reached warp speeds in short distances (watch those hair-pins though!). Climbs were short and not too steep (I never left the middle chain-ring) and require a bit more effort than the Monkey trail, however, the descending rewards were also greater. The ride was over before I knew it, and left me wanting more. I actually started the ride over again to do the loops west of the road again (the trail crosses The Dam road), but then decided maybe I'd use this extra time and energy to explore the "Stoner" trails in the Shreveport city limits.

How to get there:
(the simple route) From Shreveport, go west on I-20 about 10 miles to the Haughton/ Filmore exit. Go north on Hwy 157 to Bellevue, then take a right on the Bodcau Dam road (there will be a store on the left). Take the Dam rd about 2-3 miles until you see the dam, then note a road to the left that goes into the camping area (at this point you might have noticed bicycle crossing signs), the trailhead is down the hill on the left. It appears that some might park along the road in front of the trailhead, but I parked in the area in a corner of the intersection. For a more direct route (but probably no less time), take Hwy 79/80 from Loop 220, (Bossier City, north of I-20), then turn left on Bellevue Rd to 157, then left to Bodcau Dam Rd.


So, you ask, "I'm only going to have time for one ride while I'm in the area, which is better, Monkey or Bodcau?" Hmm, that's a tough one, but I'd have to go with Bodcau. It's a better mix IMHO, and the multiple loops provide opportunity for customizing your ride for more (or less) mileage. They are both fun though.


Stoner MTB Park
Location: Shreveport
Rider level: beginner+
Miles: Who knows
Fee: No

I really had no intentions of riding these trails as I just couldn't find much on them other than it's a network of color coded trails in the city. Knowing Shreveport like I do, I couldn't imagine they'd be better than the other two trails previously covered... and I was right. BUT, I was surprized that they are better than I expected, and worth a mention, especially due to their convenience.

After my ride at Bodcau I decided I had time and energy for for more, so I made my way to Stoner Ave to find this local trail network. The main trailhead is marked with "No ATVs" etc signs, and begins to follow the river. I began by hugging the outermost part of the property for a while, then dove in in search for more excitement. At speed the trail flows well, but without hills higher than a few feet, speed is atained the hard way; pedaling! The trails aren't boring, and even throw in a few fun sections and surprises, but I couldn't help noticing that, for the most part, the builders skirted the potentially entertaining topo and land features instead of making the most of it. Nevertheless, all things considered, it's worth mentioning. I covered 4 or 5 miles and called it a day, for fear that my inlaws might think I was avoiding them...

How to get there:
The trails are at the end of Stoner Ave, east of Clyde Fant Memorial Pkwy.Stoner ends into a boat launch area; take a right and go to the end of the parking lot where you'll find the "No ATV etc" signs I previously mentioned.
  

 

 

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