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Camping at Kisatchie National Forest

Kisatchie National Forest
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Overview of Kisatchie National Forest

Kisatchie National Forest is the only National Forest in Louisiana, USA, encompassing more than 604,000 acres of land. It is divided into five Ranger Districts: Caney, Catahoula, Calcasieu, Kisatchie, and Winn. Known for its unique ecosystems, the forest features rolling hills, bottomland hardwoods, and picturesque bald cypress groves, offering diverse wildlife and plant species. It's a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, and hunting.

Camping Options

Developed Campgrounds: Developed campgrounds in Kisatchie National Forest offer amenities like picnic tables, fire rings, potable water, and restroom facilities. Some popular campgrounds include Kincaid Lake, Dogwood, and South Toledo Bend.

Dispersed Camping: For those looking for a more rustic experience, dispersed camping is allowed in many areas of the forest. This type of camping does not provide any amenities, so campers must be self-sufficient and follow Leave No Trace principles.

Group Campsites: There are also group campsites available that are ideal for larger gatherings. These may require reservation and typically provide more amenities to accommodate more people.

Backcountry Camping: Backcountry camping allows for a more secluded and nature-immersive experience. It's essential to have a good understanding of wilderness survival and navigation when choosing this option.

Camping Rules and Tips

Fire Safety:

  • Make sure to check the current fire conditions or restrictions before starting a campfire.
  • Use fire rings where provided, and keep fires small.
  • Never leave fires unattended and completely extinguish them before leaving the site.

Trash and Waste:

  • Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
  • Utilize proper waste disposal or pack out human waste if facilities are not available.


  • Keep food stored securely to not attract wildlife.
  • Observe animals from a distance and do not attempt to feed them.

Respect Others:

  • Keep noise to a minimum, especially during quiet hours (typically 10 PM to 6 AM).
  • Preserve the serenity of the wilderness for other visitors.

Permits and Fees:

  • Some campgrounds and activities may require permits or fees. Check the specific area regulations and obtain the necessary permits in advance.

Safety and Preparation


  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions and pack accordingly.


  • Carry a map and compass or a GPS device.
  • Familiarize yourself with the area before heading out.

Emergency Preparedness:

  • Bring a first-aid kit and know basic first aid.
  • Have a plan for emergencies and let someone know your itinerary.


  • Bring sufficient water or have a way to treat water from natural sources.

Insects and Plants:

  • Protect against insect bites with repellent and appropriate clothing.
  • Recognize poisonous plants and avoid them.


Besides camping, Kisatchie National Forest offers a plethora of recreational activities:

  • Hiking and Biking: There are numerous trails for all skill levels, including the 30-mile Wild Azalea Trail.
  • Horseback Riding: Designated horse trails are provided in the forest.
  • Water Recreation: Fishing, swimming, and boating are popular on the forest's lakes and streams.
  • Wildlife Viewing and Photography: The forest is a great place for bird watching and wildlife photography.
  • Hunting: Game species such as deer, turkey, and squirrel attract hunters, following state regulations and seasons.


Kisatchie National Forest is accessible by various highways and local roads. The forest headquarters is in Pineville, Louisiana, and each district is managed from a different local office. Visitors should check maps and forest service information for specific entry points and accessible facilities. Some areas may have accessible amenities for those with disabilities.

Map of Campgrounds in Kisatchie National Forest
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