On the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Tammany Trace offers a fascinating scenic trek through five St. Tammany Parish communities. Before the 24-mile causeway was completed in the 1960s, this area was quite cut off from the sway of New Orleans. Today the parish is one of the fastest growing in the state. Despite the rapid growth, however, this 27.5-mile corridor is blessed with beautiful views of woods and wetlands.
Passing through the historic towns of Covington, Abita Springs and Mandeville, you'll experience the piney woods and moss-draped oaks that earned the area its Ozone Belt nickname. In the late 1800s New Orleanians seeking respite from the oppressive heat of the coastal plain chose this as a vacation spot. Today the trail passes many of their stately retreats.
While the western endpoint is in trendy Covington, the first trailhead (with parking, restrooms, and water fountains) lies 7 miles east in Abita Springs. The latter is also home to the famed Abita Brewpub, which serves a pleasant lunch at trailside seating (park at adjacent Abita Springs Park). The famous local beer and root beer are brewed nearby.
The route south to Mandeville threads a mostly suburban setting with several street crossings. To connect with local culture, stop by the Saturday morning market at the Mandeville trailhead to browse handmade items and sample a variety of local foods. Beyond Mandeville, the trail leads southeast through the damp, heavy wetlands climate. This is the Louisiana of Deep South lore. You'll come within several blocks of Lake Pontchartrain before angling inland toward the bayou. Keep watch for alligators, as well as the nefarious nutria, a semiaquatic rodent that's been gnawing its way through the Louisiana wetlands since the 1930s.
Currently the trail ends at the Slidell-Carollo trailhead. There are plans to continue the Tammany Trace to downtown Slidell at Heritage Park.
Parking and Trail Access
Parking is available at five places along the trail. To reach the Tammany Trace trailhead from the west end point, take I-12 east to LA 59 north in Abita Springs, cross Little Creek and turn left on Koop Drive. Rangers staff a visitor center in a green caboose past the St. Tammany Parish government building. Park beside the caboose.
Additional parking is available at other access points along the way. Visit http://www.tammanytrace.org/tour.shtml#visit to find more information.
21490 Koop Drive
Mandeville, LA 70471