Four Distinct Eco-Systems
Strolling through four ecosystems on over a mile of boardwalks through Tickfaw State Park, visitors can experience the sights and sounds of a cypress/tupelo swamp, a bottomland hardwood forest, a mixed pine/hardwood forest and the Tickfaw River.
Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons can be seen gathering crawfish and other food amid a mix of palmetto, wax myrtle and native azalea. Sightings of turtles, snakes, squirrels, opposums, songbirds, wild turkeys, and migratory waterfowl, as well as tracks of beaver, coyote, deer, fox, and racoons, offer the possibility to encounter wildlife less than an hour from Louisiana's capital city.
The adventurous can explore the park's backwater swamps and dark-watered sloughs that form the wetland network created by the Tickfaw River.
Periodically the park site serves the region by detaining floodwaters when winter and spring rains overflow the steep banks of the Tickfaw River. These periods of occasional flooding offer a unique opportunity to educate visitors on the importance of periodic flooding in the cycle of life that makes wetlands an invaluable habitat and breeding ground for wildlife and fisheries.
Originally inhabited by the Mississippian-era tribes, the area's first European settlers were French. Springfield grew out of a trading post on the Old Spanish Trail and became a shipping center. The Natalbany and Tickfaw rivers were used to transport cotton and timber to New Orleans.
The contemporary agricultural character was created by logging operations which left virtually no area untouched. Early settlers utilized much of the cleared acreage to establish a rich agricultural community. Truck farming crops such as strawberries, sweet corn, cucumber and peppers are area favorites. Pick-your-own berry farms are popular with tourists and residents beginning in December with Louisiana's favorite strawberries and continuing through early summer when blackberries and blueberries are in season. Logging and forest product industries remain an important part of the local community.
Check posted program schedules for guided hikes on the boardwalks, or you may prefer the more relaxed approach offered during a nature program presentation at one of the three education pavilions and an outdoor amphitheater at the nature center. You can also join a nighttime program, go night hiking or listen to the swamp nightlife from the porch of your vacation cabin.
Bicycle, stroll, or skate the interconnecting park roadways. Rent a canoe and take a fun-filled trip on this unique section of the Tickfaw River. Visitors can bring their own canoes or rent ones supplied by an available canoe vendor. Even Louisiana residents who are familiar with the upper sandy creek-like nature of the Tickfaw River, or the lower stretches where the river broadens and flattens into a tital waterway, will not recognize this narrow, twisting section of the river. Shaded by trees that stabilize this section, the Tickfaw River cuts through the heart of the park. On the opposite shore are approximately 600 undeveloped park acres for future trails and remote adventures.
Teachers can utilize the park as a classroon for day trips. Park naturalists offer materials and leadership to initiate the learning process in the classroom and provide the follow-up on site. Nature programs for families and tour groups are also available. And after you've seen the park in the fall, come back for the winter, spring and summer seasons for a completely different look. During warmer weather, the Water Playground offers refreshing fun for those not quite adventurous enough to explore the swamps and sloughs.
Overnight visitors can stay at one of 14 vacation cabins that overlook a cypress swamp. Each air-conditioned, two-bedroom cabin sleeps eight persons and includes a fireplace, fully-equipped kitchen and bathroom. Thirty campsites with water and electricity, fire ring and picnic table are available for recreational vehicle owners. An additional 20 tent campsites offer a tranquil setting for tent campers. A climate-controlled bathhouse and laundry facility are also available for camper use.
A Group Camp accommodates up to 52 visitors in two spacious dormitory wings, each wing served by private bath facilities. The dormitories flank a dining hall and central kitchen, furnished with commercial cooking equipment.
Day-use visitors can reserve a covered picnic shelter to enjoy a traditional crawfish boil or an old-fashioned family picnic. A canoe launch at the north end of the park and a canoe landing with parking area in the heart of the park afford convenient access to the Tickfaw River.
A gift shop in the Nature Center (open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily) offers souvenirs with a local flavor.
Recreation - camping, picnicking, canoeing, wildlife viewing
Climate - Southern Louisiana experiences a subtropical climate that's warm throughout the year. Winter months bring low temperatures near 40 degrees F and highs above 55 degrees F. During the summer expect high temperatures to reach 95 degrees F frequently, with mid-afternoon showers. Humidity is highest in August and September.
Northern regions of the state have cooler winters and somewhat warmer summers than the south. Low temperatures in the winter dip into the high 30s and highs reach 60 degrees F. July and August are the hottest months with average high temperatures reaching 100 degrees. Humidity is slightly lower in the northern uplands and the average rainfall in May is higher than any other month.
located 32 miles east of Baton Rouge. Take I-12 to the Albany/Springfield exit. Travel 2 miles south on LA 43, merge with LA 42 and continues one mile to the center of Springfield. Turn west on LA 1037 and travel six miles to Patterson Road (across from Woodland Baptist Church), then south 1.2 miles to the park entrance.
For an alternate route from Baton Rouge, take the Holden/Hwy. 441 exit, turning south onto Hwy. 441. Travel 2 miles and turn east onto Hwy. 42. Travel 1.3 miles and turn south onto C.C. Hutchinson Road (at the gas station), and go 3 miles and turn west onto Hwy. 1037/Blood River Road. Follow 1037 for about 2 miles to Patterson Road (across from Woodland Baptist Church), then south 1.2 miles to the park entrance.
To reserve a cabin, campsite, group camp or picnic pavilion, call 1-877-CAMP-N-LA toll free (877-226-7652).