Chicot State Park - Trail, Ville Platte, Louisiana

Chicot State Park - Trail, Ville Platte, Louisiana

DESCRIPTION

A 20 mile loop around Chicot Lake consisting of singletrack and a few fireroads marked by orange blazes. Mainly single track thru pine & hardwood forest. There are multiple areas of access to the loop: the North, South, East, and Walker Branch Trailheads. The most difficult part of the trail is the first 4 miles north from the South Landing Trailhead, which is a series of steep root-encrusted ups and downs. Sprinkled throughout the loop are a few 4' wide wooden bridges crossing wide ditches/low-lying/marshy areas. None have railings, and 2 are 4-5' off the ground and run for approximately 100 meters.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 17  
[Jul 14, 2015]
lightbulboy
Downhiller

Loved the Chicot trail and everything it had to offer, especially at night. I find more information about it here that may be helpful to the uninitiated. Great park!

Customer Service

Take the loop!

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
[Mar 18, 2013]
Steven Priefer
Weekend Warrior

Muddy Mess
I started out at the South Landing Trail Head. As other reviewers state the first 3 miles are the most technical. There were some roots with erosion on the downhill side which created a 12 inch drop. It was difficult to find a clean line. There was one part of the trail in which the rail road tie steps were your path to the bottom of the hill. Several descents required braking as there were no berms to assist in the mid downhill turns on the wet soil. The part of the trail that got my heart beating was the long 100 meter wooden bridges going over the swamp. It was scary and fun at the same time. Some of the bridges required a 4” to 6” wheelie to get up on them. A few times you come to the bridge right after a downhill turn which made it nearly impossible to get on the bridge squarely. The most frustrating part of the trail was the mud holes. There were a couple of 12’ long mud holes with a couple of inches of standing water. This may be the result of taking a late winter ride following a wet winter. It had not rained the week prior. Besides the mud holes there were 3 other impassible parts of the trail which required dismounting and lifting your bike over fallen trees as well as the suspension bridge which requires one to climb a ladder 4 feet to get on the bridge. At the time I crossed it there was no other lines and water was close to 12” deep and 6’ wide. The most grueling part of the ride for me was when you came out of the woods after mile 8 along the side of the levy. It was boring but required some effort because you were riding on a side of a hill. Luckily because of the time of the year there were no snakes, spiders or any other wild life for that matter. I have to agree with another reviewer this trail is great for hiking not so great for biking.

Customer Service

Start at the south point landing but do some sprints prior to getting on the trail to get warmed up. Once your own the trail follow the organge.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Nov 08, 2011]
Mary
Weekend Warrior

I'm not an avid mountain biker, just looking for something fun to do on the weekends/while camping. Chicot is brutal. I don't have a proper mountain bike, but my partner does (with disc brakes and a suspension fork). In May, we started at the South Landing heading north, and quickly realized we were out of our league. So we turned around and headed south which was not much better. This past weekend, we rode on the road up to the North Landing Trailhead and started north. This was much better, not as many technical downhills and those boardwalks through the swamp are pretty fun (except many of them have a 6 inch curb to get up onto the boardwalk). We rode for about an hour and stopped at mile 8 to turn back. The North Landing Trailhead starts at like mile 4. So we only went 4 miles in that hour, but I didn't think we were going exceptionally slow. There were several locations that required a dismount (like steep downhills with huge diameter roots waiting for you at the bottom followed by a steep uphill). A lot of other places required lots of braking - like steep downhills followed by an almost 90 degree turn with plenty of slippery leaves. Basically, it is a fun trail but I don't know who is finishing the entire loop in 2-3 hours, unless they are literally flying down some of these trails. At our pace, we would have barely finished the entire loop in 4-5 hours. We went out expecting to make an afternoon out of it after reading these reviews about people riding the trail in a morning or finishing in 2-3 hours. Just be warned - Chicot is not for the faint of heart. However, I didn't see a single spider.

Customer Service

Stay around the North and South Landing Trailhead because if you burn out, the road is nearby.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jun 29, 2011]
dirtdiesel
Racer

Wow, just moved home and was worried about not having anywhere close to ride. Rode Chicot for the first time this morning. Short and steep uphills make for a good workout. Surprisingly technical in spots. Never fell, but you better be ready crossing some of those creeks. Went north from south landing. Plenty of spiders, but nothing too overbearing. Until I rounded the north end and headed south. Dozens of huge Banana spiders right in the face. Turned around at mile 7 as I was looking down one section of trail and could count 5 webs waiting for me in a 50' section. Each web had one to three spiders in it. Heck with that! Asked a maintenance crew to make a rip on a 4-wheeler to knock down some of these bad boys. Short term fix, but there is no way to have a decent ride with those suckers hanging off your nose every 5 seconds. Overall, am happy to find such a good workout waiting so close to home. It is def a grinder!

Customer Service

South landing head north. Get the most technical stuff over with.

Similar Products Used:

Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, AL is the granddaddy of all trails in my opinion. Worth the trip even if its once a year. 20 miles of seat of your pants hauling A.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[May 25, 2011]
Robert Billeaud
Cross Country Rider

I ride this trail pretty often because I live 5 miles away from it. It is not all that difficult, though the first four miles or so are pretty intense. Very technical steep uphills as well as steep downhills filled with roots. Its nearly impossible to carry momentum from a downhill to an uphill because of small creeks that will throw you off if engaged too fast in them.

Customer Service

Start at the south landing and go north, if the first 1.5 miles tire you out, you can take the road back to your vehicle.

Similar Products Used:

Ruston is the best that I have riden.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Apr 24, 2011]
Gary W
Weekend Warrior

The first two sections are easily the toughest ones. I'm sure there are people that can ride through without pushing the bike, but definitely not me. The climbs are all short but the first ones are tough because of the steepness and the roots. I can climb all the hills from mile 4 until the end. The climbs are just short enough to allow me to reach the top and then flatten out for recovery. I only need to dismount to cross one ditch, although it probably could be ridden it if you take the right line and don't mind a little mud and water. There is also a suspension bridge which can not be ridden, but the ditch it easily crossed and two fallen trees to carry the bike over. I think full suspension makes for a much more comfortable ride with all of the exposed roots. The downhills are short and do not offer much of a chance to get good speed (only a couple of times). One of the straighter and longer downhills that allowed good speed lead to one of the bridges over the swamp. Just before the bridge is a tree that forces you to the left and I was riding within a couple of inches of the edge of the bridge at about 15 mph...what a rush. There are a few low lying areas that can be very muddy after rain.

As for all the talk about banana spiders...I've never seen any. I have seen plenty of snakes, squirrels, deer, birds and turtles. The scenery is beautiful, especially when crossing the cypress swamps on the bridges. These would certainly be good places to take pictures.

Of course there is no place to get food or water along the way, so bring plenty based on your riding ability and time estimation. I have finished the entire route in 2:15 to as long as 3:45.

Customer Service

I have only ridden from the South trailhead (straight down on the main road from the gate). This starting point does put the only tough sections first, which makes it harder since you haven't had much of a warm up before the first hills. I would like to drive to a different trailhead to put the section closer to the center of the ride rather than the beginning, but I just haven't tried that yet. An out and back is also and option from the South trailhead. You would park at the trailhead and cross to road to ride the route "backwards". The mileage indicators are set for riding the other way (clockwise).

Similar Products Used:

Kincaid and Valentine Lake near Alexandria
Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Jan 10, 2011]
Jonathan
Weekend Warrior

I wanted to post to put the banana spider scare to rest. In fact, the reviews here have kept me from riding this trail for quite some time now. I'm sure they were valid at the time but as of right now (1/10/2011) the trail is spider free. Yes, it was 35 degrees today so I thought this would be the best time to try. Maybe there's a spider mating season. I don't know but don't make the mistake that I did by avoiding this trail because of prior reviews. Now for the trail. It's just over 19 miles long circling Chicot Lake. Bring plenty of water. You will be in the middle of the swamp. There are plenty of scenic spots and the deck bridges throughout the trail are extremely nice and convenient. You don't know how fun riding a deck bridge 3-6 feet above the swamp is until you try it. I started at the South Landing Trailhead which is just beyond the main entrance station. Only cost a buck to get in. Can't beat that. I was by myself so I'm not sure if the charge is per person or per vehicle load. I was given a great map and it seemed extremely accurate. There are 4 trailheads total. I chose to go north from the South Landing Trailhead. I had read all the reviews here and knew the first 4 miles or so would be the toughest. It's not extremely difficult but I did have to push the bike a few times. The hills werent big but some were very steep. It was also very wet so some of the steep grades offered little to no traction. After the North Landing Trailhead, the trail mellows out and is a mixture of swampy areas and rolling hills. The trail was well maintained. I only remember one downed tree and all the bridges seemed extremely safe minus no handrails. There was one small suspension bridge over a ditch but I wouldn't recommend trying to cross this with your bike. It's easy enough to walk your bike across the ditch. I'm only going to rate the trail at a 3 because it just wasn't the style of riding I like. I enjoy fast, flowy single track and this trail just didn't offer that. This is a hiking trail open to bikes. Not a bike trail open to hikers. There were very few downhills to gain much momentum and the few that offered any real chance at speed had ditches at the bottom that usually required me to dismount. If you're looking for a place to get some miles in, this is a great trail.

Customer Service

I recommend using the South Landing Trailhead and going north working the loop in a clockwise direction. You'll knock out the most difficult parts first while you're still fresh and according to the mileage markers and the map it seems as if this is the intended direction.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Feb 04, 2009]
kilcat
Weekend Warrior

This is a good trek around the lake. Are Banana Spiders poisoness? I counted 30 or so. Just when you think they are clearing out, think again. If you don't have Arachniphobia(fear of Spiders)then crank on. I had one 5 inches big block my vision on one eye. I still have a vivid image imprinted in my brain. I rode with a joust in my handgrip. When I came out 19 miles later I had a hairnet like a cafeteria lady. Anyway besides that excitement the trails were fast downslopes to an abrupt ditch then maybe a minute mellow climb. Duplicate that six times or so. It took me a few hours. You better bring backup supplies or you'll be hiking for a while!

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Aug 28, 2008]
apiner
Weekend Warrior

This trail is nice, but they should rename it The Bannana Spider. Damn! We turned back after 7-ish miles because of huge spider webs across the trail every 10-20 feet. In the swampy areas at the northern tip, this proved unridable. Must have ducked, cleared or plowed through 75+ webs.
The first 1-2 miles north from the South (Main)Entrance Trail Head are a blast and the most technical...then it levels out alot. Bring your low gears and start early when it's August. First section is pretty steep for LA. Very beautiful land and more than a nice roll. Hope to go back in the Fall and combine with some camping.

Customer Service

Head north from South/Main trailhead and go as far as you can, then turn back to hit it faster! Watch for hikers

Similar Products Used:

Hooper/Comite

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Sep 06, 2006]
25lbs&counting
Cross Country Rider

It's been a while since someone wrote about this trail, so I figured it's time for an update. I recently rode the trail for the Labor day holiday, and after 3 bikes and 4 years of mountain biking, this trail is still one of my favorites. Anyway, I decided to do an early morning ride on the north side. I was completly ambushed by "banana spiders". What normally takes me 45 minutes to ride, took me over a hour and a half. Be warned, these creatures are at every corner! I had to swing a long stick in front of me and ride with one hand just to help clear a path. Besides the web abuse, I'm glad that this park has improved the trails. Back in '02 it was hard to ride the north trail due to low upkeep, but now there's bridges that cross the swampy areas and the park is very rideable. Try riding in the fall, the summer months are killer hot. A whole trip around the park should take about 6 hours at your leasure, just bring lots of water and snacks.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 17  

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