Motorcycle Rides

Best Motorcycle Roads and Destinations in Louisiana, United States

Best Motorcycle Roads and Destinations in Louisiana, United States

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Louisiana or “the Bayou State” may be covered in wetlands, but this has not deterred motorcyclists from taking trips through this region of the United States. Besides the scenic routes that border the swamps, there are plenty of roads that travel the rolling hills, flatlands, and valleys in Louisiana.

Aside from the enjoyment you would get navigating Louisiana's highways, this state is rich with cultural and historical attractions. Depending on which season you visit, you may get to take part in celebrations and events exclusive to Louisiana. As this state was the center of many conflicts, you may get to visit former battlefields as well.

This article will give you a preview of Louisiana’s prominent motorcycle roads and destinations along with supplementary information on this state’s motorcycle laws and possible luggage options.

2. Louisiana Motorcycle Roads and Destinations

Louisiana Motorcycle Roads and Destinations

2.1 Bayou Browsing for the Monkey

Distance: 36 miles
Time: 48 minutes
Start: Livonia
End: Plaquemine

As you leave Livonia, you will be able to see the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge in the distance on your right-hand side. Continuing on your way, you may come across the Swamp Shop. It’s entrance is guarded by a wooden lobster plus its shelves are stocked with plenty of souvenirs and gifts that you can purchase at low prices.

When you arrive in Plaquemine, you will be close to the riverfront of the Mississippi River. If you go to the docks, you will find the Plaquemine Lock, a history museum that will give you background information about the town. You can also take part in an Acadian Swamp Tour by riding a boat that takes you into the thick of the nearby wetlands.

The roads curve and twist around the bayous along this route, providing different yet unique natural scenery on either side of you. On the one hand, you can see the thick forests of oak and cypress trees. On the other hand, you can spy farms and flat fields.

2.2 Run for the Road

Distance: 32 miles
Time: 42 minutes
Start: Baton Rouge
End: New Roads

As you start out in Baton Rouge, you may get to see the decommissioned destroyer known as the USS Kidd docked in the harbor. You may get to explore its interior and examine the artillery it had at its disposal. You may also find your way to Mike the Tiger’s Habitat, an enclosed man-made pond and garden that houses a metallic statue of a roaring tiger.

When you make it to New Roads, you can browse the antiques that are on display at the False River Antique Mall. If you have an appreciation for art, you can spend time looking at the exhibits at the Julien Poydras Museums and Arts Center.

This route curves around the Mississippi River for much of its duration. When you get closer to New Roads, you will get close to the False River. It is recommended you attempt this route during the spring or summer as you will have a greater appreciation of the quiet urban surroundings and the dense, green canopies of the trees lining the road.

2.3 A Circle Around Toledo Bend Reservoir

Distance: 161 miles
Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Start: Merryville
End: Merryville

This route crisscrosses between both Louisiana and Texas. Before you even get close to Toledo Bend Reservoir, you first have to travel some distance from Merryville. You can get some background information of the town at the Merryville Historical Society & Museum. After crossing over into Texas, you will head up north past Burkeville where you should be able to make out Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area just across the border back in Louisiana.

As you finally make it to the Toledo Bend Reservoir, the most notable feature is when you come across the Sabine National Forest at the northern tip of this loop. If you are lucky, you might spot some local wildlife such as foxes, bluebirds, and buffalo.

As you rise and fall down the rolling hills, the road will alternate between being curvy and straight. Your route will either take you close to the lakefronts or turn deeper into the forests and urban areas. Whenever you are in Texas, you can be a bit more lax about the use of motorcycle helmets if you wish.

2.4 Mandeville Loop Through the Woods

Distance: 60 miles
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Start: Mandeville
End: Mandeville

When you start out in Mandeville, you can check out the majesty of the Seven Sisters Live Oak. You can also spend time at the Mandeville Trailhead Cultural Interpretive Center if you wish to explore the local wilderness.

If you stop by Abita Springs, you can check out the knick knacks at the Abita Mystery House. If it is the right season, you can check out the produce at the Abita Springs Art & Farmers Market. If you are looking to spend time at a quaint art and history museum, then the Abita Springs Trailhead Museum is the perfect place for you.

As you loop around, you will pass by the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife. You will be protected by the denser foliage of the closely positioned trees. You will find a variety of terrain to travel on as the roads alternate from being flat, straight, hilly, and curvy.

2.5 Lea’s Pie Run

Distance: 116 miles
Time: 2 hour 30 minutes
Start: Ville Platte
End: Ville Platte

Within close proximity to Ville Platte, you can enjoy the natural scenery of the Louisiana State Arboretum. You can also pick up souvenirs and gifts at the Cottage Couture and Tincy’s Corner. As you begin to head northwest, you will pass close by Chicot State Park and you should be able to see Millers Lake in the distance on your left-hand side.

As you draw closer to Glenmora, you will pass by Cocodrie Lake. When you get to the northern tip of this loop, you will finally arrive in Lecompte. If you head to Lea’s Lunchroom, you will be able to sample the establishment’s famous pies. You can get a view of Alexander Forest Wildlife Management Area as you enjoy the desserts.

As you begin the return trip south, you will pass by Thistlethwaite State Wildlife Management Area between Beggs and Washington. For the first leg of your trip, the landscape should be windy roads lined by dense forests on either side. The last leg of your trip, the roads will go over flat, wide-open landscapes dotted by farms.

2.6 Folsom Bogalusa Loop

Distance: 68 miles
Time: 1 hours 27 minutes
Start: Folsom
End: Folsom

Before entering the loop, you can enjoy the attractions in close proximity to Folsom. You can check out the Global Wildlife Center where you can see animals from all over the world roaming open spaces. You can also go to Sunflower Farm and Ranch to practice some horseback riding.

After crossing over the Bogue Chitto, you will continue on until you reach the northeast corner of this route, Bogalusa. You should be able to identify the town from its paper mill.

As you begin the loop back around to Folsom, you will go past the towns of Sun and Bush. Within proximity of those are the Pontchartrain Vineyards and the Splendor Farms.

It should be relatively quiet as you navigate this loop as you are traveling through the countryside. The roads should take you over plenty of rolling hills and curve around the flat plains.

2.7 Salt Marsh Tour via Highway 57

Distance: 26 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Start: Houma
End: 7240 Chester Rd, Chauvin, LA 70344

While you are still close to Houma, you can check out the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum to get a look at the local wildlife in the wetlands. You can also visit the Regional Military Museum to see the old war machines, weaponry, and uniforms utilized by the U.S. in the past decades.

As you continue to head southward, you will eventually come across the fishing community of Dulac. You can sample the local seafood at the Sportsman's Paradise or Schmoopy’s.

As per its name, this route will primarily be twisting roads that navigate through and around the salt marshes in this area. Besides coasting around bodies of water such as Lake Gero and Lake Quitman, the road will have lines of oak trees standing vigil on the sides.

2.8 Mid State 8

Distance: 155 miles
Time: 3 hours
Start: Burr’s Ferry Bridge
End: Sicily Island

Starting at the Texas-Louisiana border, you will head eastward until you arrive in the town of Leesville. You can take a stroll through Leesville Art Park and admire the abstract statues sticking out amongst all the greenery. You can also spend time checking out the produce and the decorum of Anderson Farms.

After you pass the town of Sharp, you will have cleared Lake Rodemacher. And upon leaving Boyce behind, you will follow alongside the Red River until you reach Colfax. As you turn eastward, you will eventually ride into the heart of the Kisatchie National Forest.

As you continue towards the final leg of the trip, you can go enjoy an evening in Jena by visiting the Jena Choctaw Pines Casino. Upon reaching your final destination in Sicily Island, you can spend time stretching your legs by heading up the hiking trails near the Sartorius Mounts.

2.9 Laurel Valley Road

Distance: 14 miles
Time: 23 minutes
Start: Thibodaux
End: Sanchez Road

If you are still close to Thibodaux, you can go spend time in Laurel Valley Village. Once the largest sugar plantation in the United States, it still functions to this day. Besides seeing the local farm animals that wander about, you can also get to look at the antiques preserved at the Laurel Valley Store & Museum.

If you have an interest in history, you may be interested in checking out the home of Governor Edward Douglas White which still stands to this day in Thibodaux. Most of the roads you will traverse will be twisting through the nearby swamps and wetlands. Be sure to watch out for any grave that may be scattered on the ground.

2.10 The Cajun Country Loop

Distance: 56 miles
Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Start: Opelousas
End: Opelousas

Before you depart from Opelousas, you may want to strike up conversation and enjoy a drink at the bar known as Beau’s Garage. If you wish to learn about a unique and largely unknown piece of history, you can spend time visiting the exhibits at the Louisiana Orphan Train Museum.

When you are looping back around, you can check out some interesting shops that are in close proximity to Sunset. You can check out the items at the Sunset Rail Stop Flea Market or browse the galleries at Boho.

The inspiration for this route’s name is that the loop travels through the rural, Cajun Country. The first part of the loop will have you going through the Bayou Teche which is composed of wetlands plus sugar cane and soybean fields. The last part of the loop will have you navigating urban territory such as the farmlands and small towns.

2.11 Cane River Rip

Distance: 70 miles
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Start: Alexandria
End: Natchitoches

Within close proximity to Alexandria is the Alexandria Zoological Park if you wish to admire exotic wildlife that are not native to the U.S. You can also check out the Kent Plantation House to see what life was like for plantation owners prior to the Louisiana Purchase.

As you head southeast, you will run alongside the Red River while also passing by the Kisatchie National Forest. This route is rich with historical sites as there are many plantations, churches, historical landmarks, and national historical parks along the way such as Cane River Creole National Historical Park.

When you reach your final destination in Natchitoches, you can visit the reptiles residing at Natchitoches Alligator Park. You can also ride on river boats that travel up and down Cane River.

3. Louisiana Motorcycle Laws

Louisiana Motorcycle Laws

3.1 Louisiana Motorcycle Helmet Laws

As Louisiana has a universal motorcycle helmet policy, all motorcyclists regardless of age are required to have a motorcycle helmet on when operating their vehicles.

Make sure that you own a motorcycle helmet that has been manufactured by the Snell Memorial Foundation and has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The two types of models that meet the criteria stated above, provide protection for your head and neck, and help improve your visibility to other drivers are three-quarter and full-face helmets. When you are searching for a motorcycle helmet, make sure that the one you select has the following features:

  • Has a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker
  • Can be fitted around your head snugly
  • No visible signs of damage
  • Has a face shield with no scratches (Full-face helmet only)
  • Requires separate eye protection with no scratches (Three-quarter helmet only)
  • Has a hard and durable outer shell that is shatter-resistant
  • Gives you a clear, peripheral view
  • Can be fastened with a neck- or chin-strap
  • Allows airflow without fogging up
  • Can allow you to wear sunglasses or goggles underneath

3.2 Louisiana Motorcycle Passenger Laws

If you wish to carry a motorcycle passenger, your vehicle must have the following equipment designed to provide secure and safe seating for an additional person: hand straps, footrests, and a designated passenger seat.

As your passenger cannot ever be in front of you, the designated passenger seat must either be fixed to the side as a sidecar, a separate saddle towards the rear, or at the back of the driver’s seat.

You are forbidden from carrying any motorcycle passengers under the age of five. You can only carry individuals that can reach the footrests without issue and are wearing an approved motorcycle helmet at all times. Make sure that your motorcycle passenger is not carrying anything, can listen to directions well, and can mimic your movements promptly.

3.3 Louisiana Motorcycle Safety Features

While you are only required to conduct an inspection of your motorcycle yearly, it is best to check on the condition of your motorcycle before every trip. When closely inspecting the machinery, you may find damage that has previously gone unnoticed. Since a motorcycle cannot function at optimal capacity if even one of its primary components starts to fail, it is best to apply repairs yourself or take it to a mechanic as soon as possible.

Listed below are the safety features your motorcycle must have and be given proper maintenance to be street legal in Louisiana:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Brakes(s)
  • Controls
  • Headlight
  • License plate light
  • Taillight
  • Stoplight
  • Reflector
  • Exhaust system
  • Muffler
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Windshield

3.4 Louisiana Lane Splitting Laws

Lane splitting is deemed an illegal practice in Louisiana. Motorcyclists cannot ride on top of the dividing lines in between traffic lanes. You also cannot ride in between adjacent rows of stopped vehicles. Finally, you cannot attempt to overtake a larger vehicle in front of you while both of you are traveling in the same lane.

That being said, motorcyclists are entitled to use the entire space within the lane they are currently in. And only two motorcyclists can share the same lane so long as they keep a distance of two abreast and both riders consent beforehand.

4. Motorcycle Luggage for Louisiana Motorcycle Tour

Motorcycle Luggage for Louisiana Motorcycle Tour

Motorcycle luggage is a useful means of storage to have regardless of the length of your Louisiana motorcycle tour. Besides being able to fit your motorcycle’s specific model, it can remain fastened to your vehicle even in the face of strong winds, heavy rains, etc. It can also hold all the essentials such as provisions, water container, repair tools, electronics, etc. without affecting the balance of your vehicle when you are riding on Louisiana's roads.

Listed below are examples of motorcycle luggage that come with mounting hardware, installation instructions, ample storage space, and are made of durable, weather-resistant materials. As they function more or less the same, you should pick the version with the size, color, and design that you prefer:

5. Parting Words

As you prepare for your Louisiana motorcycle trip, remember to take into account more than just the intended destinations and attractions you wish to see. Of course, if you do not have a plan for how to get between places, you run the risk of getting lost and wasting precious time. Unless you have a GPS that can be attached to your motorcycle, it wouldn’t hurt to spend time memorizing your route and the landmarks you should keep an eye out for.

Studying Louisiana’s motorcycle laws will help give you an overview of the rules of the road, restrictions, and accepted motorcyclist behavior. You will have to adjust to the regulations specific to Louisiana, but it is better than being pulled over by the police for misconduct.

While your motorcycle luggage has a considerable weight capacity, make sure to only pack enough items without causing the baggage to stretch. Make sure that the overall weight of your belongings does not cause your motorcycle to tilt when you are riding.

Regardless of where you go in Louisiana, try to make the most of the time you spend with your motorcycle. Have modest expectations for the roads, appreciate any new sights you see, and be open to trying out new activities.

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