St. Mary Parish, Louisiana
Our favorite thing about this trail is its rich cultural significance. The 135-mile trail runs through the heart of Acadiana and was the Mississippi River’s main course when it developed a delta about 2,800 to 4,500 years ago. Two major Native American tribes, the Chitimacha and the Attakapas, lived along the banks of the Teche for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. Bayou Teche was the primary means of transportation during the Acadian migration, and saw fighting on its waters in 1862 during the American Civil War. Bayou Teche was added to the National Water Trail System in 2015 as the 17th water trail in the country and the first in Louisiana.
While on the water, keep an eye out for great live oaks draped in Spanish moss that provide evidence of where small Acadian plantations once operated. Birdwatchers will see wood ducks, herons, kingfishers, and warblers along the entire stretch of Bayou Teche, and paddlers who bring their fishing poles can fish for catfish, sac-au-lait (crappie), and bream (blue gill). Each town along the Teche offers its own personality and experiences that include architecture, agriculture, foodways, music, and arts.