Louisiana Trails - Jamestown to Winnfield

Louisiana

Louisiana Trails - Jamestown to Winnfield Facts

States: Louisiana
Counties: Bienville, Natchitoches, Winn
Length: 40 miles
Trail end points: Rt. 154 and E. Front Street (Jamestown) and Route 501 (west of Winnfield)
Trail surfaces: Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6314054
Trail activites: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking

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Louisiana Trails - Jamestown to Winnfield Description

Louisiana Trails present a spectacular path through majestic hardwood and pine forests towering overhead as you pass through part of the Kisatchie National Forest. The multi-use corridor is popular with families, equestrians, hikers, mountain bikers, joggers, and birdwatchers. You may even see a mule-drawn wagon along the way. Dozens of old railroad trestles convey trail users over the many streams and lakes, as well as a few swamps and beaver ponds. Wildflowers and flowering trees lend splashes of color during spring, summer and fall. Winters temperatures are generally mild, making this a year-round destination.

The trail, when fully developed, will be 60 plus miles long, stretching from Sibley to Winnfield. It will cross parts of Webster, Bienville, Natchitoches, and Winn parishes. Currently only about 40 miles of the trail, between Jamestown and Winnfield, are open to the public (except for activities involving horses and mules.) Because of incomplete flooring on some of the bridges, the Trail is open to horses and mules between Ashland and Goldonna only.

The railbed dates to 1890, when it was constructed by William Buchanan to expand his 4-mile logging railroad south from Bodcaw, Arkansas, to Louisiana. Eventually, what became known as the Louisiana & Arkansas Railroad, was sold to the Kansas City Southern Railway. During its day, the rail line connected with the Carey Salt mine in Winnfield and linked oil and gas operations in Bienville and Webster parishes.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available in Jamestown between E. Front Street (Rt. 792) and W. Front Street, south of Rt. 154. You can also park in two places in Goldonna, near the Post Office (Main Street/Rt. 479) and also farther along northeast of there on Main Street/Rt. 479.
Parking is available at the southern end point is near Winnfield, at the intersection of Rt. 501 and Par Road/994/Milam Rd.
Other towns along and near the route include Mt. Morgan, Ogden, Heflin, Swift, Fryeburg, Lawhon, Jamestown, Castor, Alberta, Roy, Guynes, Ashland, Skidder, Chestnut, Oshkosh, Coldwater, Grace, Calvin and Carla Station on the west side of Winnfield.

Louisiana Trails - Jamestown to Winnfield Reviews

We rode the trail both directions from Goldonna trailhead. The trail has been heavily used by ATV,s near Goldonna and has several large water holes. We were able to get around them but they are a nuisance. As we rode further away toward Hwy 9 intersection the trail was in fairly good condition and traversed through wooded area. When you get close to roads the ATV damage is more evident. The Goldonna trailhead has a large pavillion. we were told that you can camp there for $10 a night with electric and water hookup.

From jamestown to Castor is a good ride some bad holes not unpassable though. The old railway bridges could stand some improving, there are some ties that need some quick attention. The store in Jamestown is open again. Castor to Goldonna is a little more challenging. There is one area of sloppy red clay going form side to side of the trail, it is passable though. One bridge just south of Castor has a big elevation to climb to get onto the bridge it is where the dirt has just disappeared over time. There are a couple of trees down south of Ashland crosing the trail. Other than a couple technical difficulties the family had fun this weekend. The gas station at Goldonna has the best hamburgers and Sulivans in Ashland has great pizza.

The official trail head is actually 3-4 miles south of Sibley on Nursery road. It's 62 miles from there to the end in Winnfield. The first 30 miles is a sloppy mess. ATV's have dug deep mudholes covering the entire trail. It is ride able, but progress is slow and the thin layer of sandy top soil makes for an exhausting ride. There are small towns at every ~15 mile mark. Jamestown is first and there is no open convenience store, in July 2014 the water hose by the gas pumps was working. There are a few bridges in the first 30 miles that have not been updated and are just trusses and crossties and are very dangerous. Ashland is next at ~30 miles and there is an open convenience store and a water source. The 3rd 15 mile leg begins just as sloppy as the previous 30 miles, but quickly turns to a sandy gravel mix and is less taxing on the legs. Goldonna is the 3rd stop, there is a store there but was closed the Sunday our group made the journey. From Goldonna to the finish north of Winnfield is mostly sandy gravel mix with a few mud holes. There are climbs on the second half but because of the long slow grades built for railroad cars, they are not obvious. There is no glory waiting for you at the finish.

FYI- 6 of us made the entire route from Sibley to Winnfield July 20th, 2014. We had sag vehicles meet us at every 15 mile mark to transport nutrition and water coolers. All riders were at Men's Cat 2 MTB fitness level and we finished in 8.5 hours including stops. This route is very challenging, remote, and hard on equipment. It should be taken seriously.

Accordion

This trail extends northwest of Jamestown to the small town of Sibley. Attempted to ride the section from Sibley to Heflin yesterday. While passable with wide tires and low gears, the best stretches of the trail consisted of loose sand and easily avoidable puddles. There were quite a few areas that were not passable due to large puddles and rough terrain. ATVs appear to be the largest user group of this section. On the plus side, it was quiet, relatively trash free, and through some large stands of pine.

Well build trail for anyone besides hikers. I was looking for an overnight trail and found this one to be the longest in the area. The trail has ruts all through out it and you will run into a couple of large mud puddles from the tires of atvs. Be care while crossing over the first couple of bridges on the west end of the trail due to the wide gaps in between the ties. As you can see in the description it was a railroad, therefore the trail is very wide along the entire 40 miles. Half of the trail is with in sight of a highway, so don't expect for it to be to peaceful. Be aware this trail is private and requires a membership. For more info http://www.louisianatrails.org/index.html Overall i don't regret hiking the trail, just because i love the woods, it just would of been nice to be aware of the trails condition for hikers.

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