Top Ten U.S. Road Biking Routes

Cajun Country, Louisiana
  |  Gorp.com
The Achafalaya Basin at Lake Fausse Pointe SP
Lake Fausse Pointe State Park is the jumping-off point for visits to the Achafalaya Basin (State of Louisiana, State Parks)

What comes to mind when you think of Louisiana? Gumbo. Jazz. Mardi Gras. Crocodiles. Bayou. Sure enough, this is all there . . . and in surfeit. But none of this suggests the possibility of quality scenery or alluring roads along which a good cycle can be had. However, there are parts of Louisiana that rival the best in non-Rockies road riding anywhere in the United States. And where else in America are you going to be able to round out a full day of pedaling with unsurpassed jambalaya?

Cajun country is nearly the full length of the Louisiana Gulf Coast (minus the Mississippi Delta) from Sabine National Wildlife Refuge all the way to Grand Isle State Park. It is the swampy bayous, saltwater marshes, and Cajun and Creole cultures that have attracted the curious for decades. Replete with natural resources, the countryside will provide fodder to every one of your senses. And taking it all in from the saddle of a bike is a far, far better way than others. One area in particular, east of Lafayette and south of Interstate 10, is a grand expanse of untillable and sparsely inhabited land. Most of this is the breathtaking Achafalaya Basin, one of the great natural wonders of North America. Any ride around here and through the communities flanking it will be one you never forget.

One excellent approach to seeing this area is to tack together rides along two of Louisiana's scenic byways: the Promised Land and the Bayou Teche. A turn along the Promised Land could begin in St. Martinsville (on Route 31) and take in Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, a Creole cottage/plantation home and estate that introduces the French-speaking cultures of the area. At New Iberia, the Bayou Teche Scenic Byway begins. First sweeping south on Route 83 and then northward through Baldwin to Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, you will get a real taste of the south. Lake Fausse Pointe is the jump-off point for visits of the Achafalaya Basin. A good place to finish your ride is in Morgan City.

Read more about what is hidden in Louisiana, including some more scenic byways.


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