The Northlake Center is located right in the middle of St. Tammany Parish. It is a stone’s throw from the ever-popular 32-mile Tammany Trace Rails-to-Trails path. The South Loop is one of the more popular options of the three trails that run through the Nature Center. It is one of the best mountain bike trails in the Louisiana area, there’s plenty of riding to be done.
The South Loop is considered by many to be the easier of the three trails in the Northlake Center. With a 3.4 km loop and 8m elevation gain, it takes an average of 37 minutes to complete. In addition to riding, this trail is also excellent for hiking, walking and birdwatching. A big positive is that the trail is accessible all year and boasts beautiful scenery no matter when you’re visiting.
Here's a breakdown of how the South Loop compares to the other two trails in the Northlake Nature Center.
|Trail Name||Length||Elevation Gain||Level||Rating|
|South Loop||2.11 mi||26 ft||Easy||4.2|
|Eagle Trail||1.1 mi||13 ft||Easy||3.5|
|North Loop||1.98 mi||15 ft||Beginner||3.0|
A fun aspect of this trail is the many offshoot trails that aren’t always highlighted on the maps. The trails aren’t boring, and you’re guaranteed to experience something new with every visit. The South Loop trail is partially paved and for people walking the trail, the good news is that it’s wheelchair and stroller friendly.
The pathways for bicycling and hiking go through three different ecosystems—wetlands, pine and hardwood forests. Here’s a short description of what the other two trails have to offer.
There’s something for everyone at the South Loop trail of the Northlake Nature Center. Some of the more prominent activities you can look into before or after your adventures on the trails:
While the South loop trail is well marked, the map isn’t very accurate. We recommend taking a compass as there are plenty of off-shoot trails that aren’t shown on the provided map. The paths do occasionally become muddy after a rainstorm, but even then you can give them a try.
If you want to test your abilities in muddy terrain, you can do so quite comfortably, especially if you’re skilled enough to handle your bike in low-lying muddy areas.
Many tourists highlight that bug spray is a must, especially in areas where the trail gets a bit dense. Finally, the Park generally has a dog-friendly rule, provided your pets are on a leash.