Spring Bayou at Spring Bayou WMA
What's the Story?
Spring Bayou is located within Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area, which spans more than 12,000 acres in the low-lying, poorly drained Red River backwater system. About 40 percent of the area is covered by water that flows into Little River.
Spring Bayou WMA includes Grand Lake, Grand Coulee, Coulee Noir, Lac aux Siene, Lac a Deux Boute, Lac Tete de Bouef, Lake Francois, Lake Gabriel, Petite Bay, Old River, Bayou de la Bay, Central Slough and a portion of Bayou Cocodrie. The names of these lakes, coulees, bays, bayous, sloughs and small rivers reflect the French origins of colonial occupation and settlement in the region. These same waterbodies are relict channels of the Red River and have arcing, curvilinear forms all in the same direction. The outermost of the “arcs” within the Spring Bayou WMA is Old River—a distributary outlet of the Mississippi. Further south, the Red River and a separate waterbody referred to as Old River join forces to form the Atchafalaya River and its extensive basin.
When the Red River diverted its course about 2,000 years ago, it made a right angle bend to the northeast and cut through the Pleistocene terrace near today’s community of Moncla. This diversion isolated a piece of highland that became the Avoyelles Prairie and created bluffs at Moncla that would eventually make crossing the Red River in bad weather easier for settlers. The nearby town of Marksville is at the edge of the Avoyelles Prairie on a bluff that American Indians chose for a town and ceremonial grounds.
Today, Spring Bayou WMA is abundant in wildlife and a popular destination for sportsmen. It is accessible by vehicle on the east side via an improved shell road off the Bordelonville levee, but the best way to explore the area is via the water. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Spring Bayou Restoration Team have worked for many years to reduce aquatic overgrowth, remove invasive species and improve navigation here.
This site’s geology/geomorphology: Holocene natural levee deposits of the distributary course of the Bayou Teche occupation of Mississippi River adjacent to backswamp deposits
Site Access: This trail kiosk is located in a Wildlife Management Area. To access a WMA you must purchase a Wild Louisiana Stamp (if you do not already have a Louisiana fishing or hunting license). Visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/licenses-and-permits for more information or to purchase a one-day or year-long pass.
Closest Address: 2674 Spring Bayou Road, Marksville, LA 71351
Site GPS Coordinates: 31.120064, -92.011708
Driving Directions: From Marksville, drive south on LA Hwy. 1 and turn onto N. Main Street. Then turn right onto 1190 and proceed straight until you come to a three way stop. Turn right onto Spring Bayou Rd. and continue to the Wildlife Management Area.
Trail Site Information
No Entrance Fees
Parks & Refuges