Running in Louisiana

Louisiana’s landscape is as diverse as the state is. From scenic routes through the French Quarter to rugged technical trails in the bayou, it’s easy to clock a few marvelous miles this year.

Team Louisiana - Runner at Finish line in Louisiana Marathon Baton Rouge
The Louisiana Marathon & Finish Fest

The Boston-Qualifier Louisiana Marathon is held in Baton Rouge each January. 

For the Sightseer:

These trails are near iconic landmarks and must-see museums.

Tammany Trace

Abita Springs

The Tammany Trace spans 31 miles of the Northshore, connecting five communities partitioned by riverfront wetlands and canopied greenspace. For a scenic 6-mile stint, start at the Abita Trailhead Museum and run to Covington and back.

Crescent City Park Promenade

New Orleans

This short but sweet 2-mile out-and-back trail highlights the French market District. Discover striking semi-tropical palms and colorful Creole cottages along the way.

Tip: This trail offers accessible parking spaces from Chartres Street. The trail surface is 5 feet wide, paved and navigable for most mobility equipment.

Cane Bayou Track

Mandeville

Canter through Fontainebleau State Park, flecked with grand cypress trees and olive-green marshes. Throughout the 4-mile out-and-back run, you’ll likely encounter wrens, cardinals and swallows, as well as kayakers, birders and mountain bikers.

For the Mileage Maker:

Avid runners will love these challenging trails.

Wild Azalea Trail

Alexandria

The rugged Wild Azalea Trail crosses through hardwood forests and lazy creeks, where you’ll note towering longleaf pines and vibrant wildflowers. At 26 miles, this is the longest continuous trail in Louisiana.

Bogue Chitto Gorge Run Trail

Franklinton

The Bogue Chitto Gorge Run Trail overlooks the gorge itself, offering a bird’s eye view of the terrain. While only 5 miles long, hills, hardwood forests and ever-changing terrain make this trail expert level.

A person crosses the finish line of the Zydeco Marathon.

The Zydeco Marathon in Lafayette.

A shot from street-level of the Louisiana Marathon.

The Louisiana Marathon.

Dozens of people, all wearing red dresses, socialize in the streets of New Orleans.

The iconic Red Dress Run in New Orleans.

Three people stand underneath an awning with a logo that reads, "Abita Brew Pub." Their bicycles are leaned against a white picket fence to the right of the awning.

Swing through historic buildings and museums along these routes.

For the Reflective Runner:

You’re not scared to venture off the beaten path or spend quiet time in nature. That’s why these trails work wonderfully for you.

Lincoln Parish Park

Ruston

A singletrack 1-mile trail weaves around a quiet lake, perfect for meditative walks or short runs. Find campsites, playgrounds and swimming areas nearby for the whole family to enjoy.

Chicot State Park

Ville Platte

Few trails are as quintessentially Louisiana as the Chicot State Park loop. Run or walk up to 17 miles of wooden bridges that cross cypress-dotted swamps, hardwood forests and wetlands.

Moon Seed Loop

Lafayette

At the juncture of river and prairie, Moon Seed Loop winds through wiry tallgrass and Mississippi floodplains. Run across wooden boardwalks and natural surfaces, perhaps encountering beavers and fox squirrels along the way.

Marathons & Races in Louisiana

Ready to race? Check out a few of Louisiana’s most iconic runs.

  • The Louisiana Marathon, held in Baton Rouge each January, ends with a community cookout and concert.
  • The two-day Zydeco Marathon in March pays homage to the state’s storied music history in the heart of Cajun country.
  • Ready for an ultra-marathon? Consider the Wild Azalea Trail Challenge in early July, which has a rule some might find hard to keep: No whining.
  • Don’t miss Red Dress Run, which paints New Orleans in electric shades of ruby in August.
  • Based off a creepy Cajun Legend, the Loup Garou Trail Run in Ville Platte offers 20-100 miles of blood, sweat and tears in early December.

5 Tips for Running in Louisiana

  1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. The South is hot and humid, particularly in Louisiana, where climates are subtropical. Be sure to hydrate during your run — carrying a hydration pack is best — as well as the days leading up to it.
  2. Start at Sunrise. To beat the heat, begin at sunrise while temperatures are at their lowest.
  3. Use Sweat-Proof Sun Protection. Runners sweat but do so particularly in the humidity. Be sure to wear a long-lasting, sweat-proof sunscreen. Don’t forget hats and shades, either.
  4. Dress the Part. Light, breathable layers are key. If possible, opt for sweat-wicking, quick-dry fabric.
  5. Adjust Your Pace to the Dewpoint. When the dewpoint rises, so does the effort needed to maintain your standard pace. For dewpoints above 65 degrees, consider adjusting your pace by five to 10 seconds. For dewpoints 70 degrees higher, consider tripling this amount.