Chemin-a-Haut State Park in north Louisiana has one of the biggest and most unique cypress trees that you will find anywhere in the state. The cypress giant is nicknamed the “Castle Tree”, and its cavernous hollow is large enough to paddle a kayak inside the tree trunk.
The old hollow cypress tree in Chemin-a-Haut State Park is a rare site in Louisiana. The giant cypress has been growing here for 800 to 1,000 years. The base of the tree measures 20 feet in diameter.
Cypress giants popular at chemin-a-haut State Park
This state park is in extreme northern Louisiana at a site that includes trails used by Native Americans. The name, Chemin-a-Haut, is French and means “the high road”. The huge cypress tree is located in a creek that drains into Bayou Bartholomew. The waterways are popular for paddling in a canoe or kayak in the park. Cypress trees this size were usually cut for timber. But their remote location may have saved them. Park manager Demetrius Fields says, “The water levels here only give you a great float a certain time of the year, and that kind of helped save them.”
take a ride inside a giant cypress tree
a quiet night on the water
This state park has six waterfront cabins. In addition, the campground has 26 premium campsites plus a primitive area for tent camping. Visitors can hike along the bluff that overlooks the bayou inside the park. You can also fish for freshwater species along the shore of Big Slough Lake.
Chemin-a-Haut is the oldest state park in Louisiana. The Civilian Conservation Corps build the park in the 1930’s. The park’s main attraction is nature, a quiet creek, the gentle sound of the wind as it rustles the leaves, and seeing a tree that has stood here for a thousand years.
Heart of louisiana tv feature on chemin-a-haut
Chemin-a-Haut State Park is located ten miles north of Bastrop in northern Louisiana. Address: 14656 State Park Road, Bastrop, LA. Phone: 318-283-0812.
I grew up in Bastrop & I have visited Chemin-A-Haut numerous times, but only recently learned of the Castle Tree! Mr. McNamara…another excellent report on a truly eye-opening natural resource in my own backyard. I now live in NOLA and have held my tour guide license for more than 20 years, so I am thrilled with what I learned…now, how do I rent a canoe to get there?
You can rent a kayak at the state park – $7/hr or $35/day. Enjoy!