A 60-acre forest embedded in the heart of New Orleans is a perfect example of a hidden gem in plain sight. Couturie Forest is a nature lovers dream come true and is a perfect spot for health enthusiasts who often walk or run along the trail. Couturie Forest has the distinction of having the highest elevation point in the city, Laborde Mountain, which is 43 feet above sea level. It's the perfect place to take the kids to introduce them to the various ecosystems that co-exist within the forest.
Parking and public transportation at Couturie Forest
Couturie Forest is located in City Park, so there's tons of places to park within easy walking distance. At the actual entrance parking is limited, with fewer than ten off-street spots available. Couturie Forest can be accessed through public transportation.
Best and worst time to go to Couturie Forest
The best time to explore the forest is early to mid-mornings, giving you ample time to hike before dark. If you arrive too close to closing time, you may not be able to hike through the entire forest and potentially miss out on seeing parts of this beautiful ecosystem. Check the weather forecast before you go; the worst time to get caught in the forest is during a rainstorm. You may want to consider bringing a compact umbrella since it can be used to shade your from the sun as well as a sudden downpour.
Admission to Couturie Forest
Admission to the forest is free. Visitors can hike daily during daylight hours.
Must see/do at Couturie Forest
Climbing to the top of Laborde Mountain is a must do when visiting the forest. In fact, some people visit the forest for this reason alone, opting not to go deeper inside. There's a nice observation deck overlooking the lake and an amphitheater, complete with seating, be sure to check these gems out also.
Other places to visit near Couturie Forest
The New Orleans Lakefront at Lakeshore Drive, a popular local hangout, is located near the Couturie Forest and is well-worth a visit. Here you will find one of the best views of Lake Pontchartrain. If you've ever wanted to see a lighthouse up close and personal, stop by the New Canal Lighthouse and Education Center, a reconstructed lighthouse rebuilt after suffering extensive damage during Hurricane Katrina. A visit to Lakeview also necessitates a trip to Landry's Restaurant for some of the freshest seafood in the city.
Insider's tip for visitors to Couturie Forest
Pack a picnic lunch or snack; there are several picnic tables for visitors to stop and enjoy the forest. There are also several places places to sit on the grass and enjoy a view of the lake.
Author's bio: Myra Faye Turner is a writer living in New Orleans who has hiked through the Couturie Forest numerous times and not once has she gotten lost.