Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Bayou Savage MTB
December 1, 2001 See the map for the route, start at 1 and follow the numbers.
Here is the detailed description of this 22.5 mile route. Start at the Ridge Trail parking lot off of I-90. To get here, take I-10 to I-510, exit on Chef Mentuer (eastbound, take a left from 510). Go down Chef for a ways until you enter Bayou Savage NWR. Right as you enter you will see the parking lot for the ridge trail on the left. Park here.
Start riding along the 3.5 mile ridge trail. This is nice gravel doubletrack with good views of the swamp on the left side. Riding is easy and you should be able to finish this in 15 minutes. At the end of the trail, you will see I-10. The trail does not go all the way there, however. There is a small creek (see number 2 on the map) that is easiely crossable over stones. Bring your bike about 50 feet through the hardwoods to the I-10. There is a bridge and a fence, but fear not. If you go to the left the fence is taken down and you can easiely get your bike up.
Go eastbound on I-10 for 2.5 miles. You will see one bridge over I-10 with the exits blocked. Pass this. At the next bridge over I-10, take the exit (to the swamp tour place. Ride over this bridge towards the north and you will see the Bayou Savage Bike Trail.
This bike trail used to be in pretty good shape last year. However, now only the first 3/4 mile is paved. The rest, starting at number 3 on the map, is ripped up with globs of tar everywhere. It is probably harder riding in this than in mud. You will have 1.5 miles of this until there is a shell road at the bottom of the levee. Riding on that is much easier, but is lacking in a view. I'm going to call them to see what they are doing to this, maybe they are resurfacing it. Anyway, if you don't want tar on your bike (very hard to get off), you may want to ride on the grass at the bottom of the levee. I found it easier to ride on the tar. I got back to I-10 after a total elapsed time of about 55 minutes. If you keep going, albiet slow, you will getto the end. This is number 4 on the map.
From here, the levee continues on the opposite side of I-10. So go ahead and wait for an opening in traffic and dash across. Continue on the levee. The top of the levee is mainly thick brush, and it is slow going until Hwy 11. Once you cross Hwy 11 there is an old shell road, somewhat overgrown, on the top of the levee. This continues (approx) until number 5 on the map. After this, you will have probably the roughest going in the whole route. The levee top is overgrown with grass and there are patches of mud and holes just about everywhere. It is also a straight shot to Hwy 90, so at least you can see your goal up ahead. Strategy for this streach is again take it slow in a low gear. You will make progress at 4-5 mph. Try not to stop to have breaks as that will slow you down.
Cross Hwy 90 and continue on the levee on the other side. Again, there is a nice old shell road on top and down below. Round the first bend and you will see a second bend. The road stops around here (see 6 on the map) and you are going again through thick grass. But it is not nearly as bad as the streach along Hwy 11 because there are very few mud holes. Continue slow on this and you will soon come to train tracks around a bend. A nice view is had by climbing on top of the piling on the floodgate. After taking in the view, continue on, the hard part is almost over. At 7 on the map a well maintained gravel road starts below the levee. Follow this to the pumping station, and take a right. Continue traveling on this shell road, and soon you will come to a paved road! Heaven! This is around 8 on the map. Cross over the railroad tracks and you are almost there. When you get to the end of the road, climb over the gate and your car is parked right across Hwy 90.