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Louisiana Waterfalls

The Bayou State is not known for waterfalls or much elevation change at all, but I found a couple in the Sicily Island region in J.C. "Sonny" Gilbert Wildlife Management Area.

Rock Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 31.82527,-91.75457 (Rock Falls Trailhead Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 31.82589,-91.75358

Rock Falls is a 17-foot waterfall on a tributary of Big Creek in Catahoula Parish.  The waterfall is located in J.C. "Sonny" Gilbert Wildlife Management Area.  The hike to the falls is a loop less than a mile long and moderate in difficulty.  Note that you need a Wild Louisiana Stamp if you do not have a fishing or hunting license and you must complete a self-clearing permit to hike here.

To visit the falls, take LA-8 west from Sicily Island for 6.9 miles and turn right onto a gravel road.  There is a brown sign for the WMA, but the turn is not marked on most maps or navigation devices.  At the immediate fork, bear left and follow this road for slightly under 3 miles to the trailhead on the right.  A kiosk and shelter are here, so it's easy to spot.  You'll pass the Self-Clearing Permit Station in about a mile - it's mandatory to stop and fill one of these out.

The red-blazed Rock Falls Trail starts from behind the shelter and descends steeply towards a gorge that the tributary flows through.  The trail turns to the right and you can see the falls down in the gorge.  It's a moderate climb down to reach the base of the waterfall.  At 17 feet, this is the highest waterfall in the state of Louisiana.

St. Mary's Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 31.86347,-91.75315 (St. Mary's Falls Trailhead)
Waterfall GPS: 31.86790,-91.75319

St. Mary's Falls is a 10-foot waterfall on Sandy Bayou in Catahoula Parish.  The waterfall is located in J.C. "Sonny" Gilbert Wildlife Management Area.  The hike to the falls is a short loop just over a mile long and moderate in difficulty.  Note that you need a Wild Louisiana Stamp if you do not have a fishing or hunting license and you must complete a self-clearing permit to hike here.

To visit the falls, take LA-8 west from Sicily Island for 1.2 miles and turn right LA-916.  Go 2.6 miles and turn left on LA-915.  Follow this road for just under a mile, then turn left and an immediate right to stay on LA-915.  In 0.9 miles from the last turn, go turn left into the WMA at a brown sign.  You'll come to a fork shortly - go right.  The trailhead is 2 miles from LA-915 and there is a kiosk at the trailhead so it's easy to spot.  You'll pass the Self-Clearing Permit Station in about a mile - it's mandatory to stop and fill one of these out.

The green-blazed St. Mary's Falls Trail starts out following an old road and comes to a split.  It's a loop so you can go either way, but quickest to go straight/right.  The trail departs from the road and heads down to Sandy Bayou at a ledge opposite the falls.  You can climb down to creek level for a closer view and even walk behind the waterfall.

Sandy Bayou Waterfall:

Trailhead GPS: 31.86347,-91.75315 (St. Mary's Falls Trailhead)
Waterfall GPS: 31.86776,-91.75278

Sandy Bayou Waterfall is a small 5-foot cascading waterfall on a tributary of Sandy Bayou in Catahoula Parish.  The waterfall is located in J.C. "Sonny" Gilbert Wildlife Management Area.  The hike to the falls is a short loop just over a mile long and moderate in difficulty.  Note that you need a Wild Louisiana Stamp if you do not have a fishing or hunting license and you must complete a self-clearing permit to hike here.

To visit the falls, follow the directions to St. Mary's Falls above.  At the point where you climb down to creek level, a tributary flows into Sandy Bayou on river-left.  The waterfall is just a short ways upstream.  The tributary is very small, but there's a big pool at the base of the waterfall.