After a night of indulging in some of the best seafood ever along the Northshore, I knew I had to get in some exercise. I had heard about Tammany Trace, a 31-mile, hike-and-bike trail that runs throughout St. Tammany Parish and is the state’s top-rated rail-to-trail.

While I hiked the trail in the winter, here's a photo of the trail in springtime!

While I hiked the trail in the winter, here’s a photo of the trail in springtime!

Originally a corridor for the Illinois Central Railroad, Tammany Trace spans from downtown Covington, through Abita Springs, Mandeville and Lacombe, ending in Slidell. The St. Tammany Parish government purchased the abandoned corridor on December 20, 1992, then with the help of grants and federal dollars, the government was able to asphalt the 31 miles.

I had to see for myself what all the hubbub was about. Since I was staying in Mandeville, what better place to begin my hike than the Tammany Trace headquarters! I walked to the “beginning” point, the Koop Drive Trailhead. It is marked with a green caboose that serves as an information center and ranger station. Here I saw Kids Konnection, a place for all children, with or without special needs, to play together. I headed out for my four-and-one-half-mile hike. Even though it is the middle of winter, it was a beautiful sight! The trail is easy-to-moderate, and the scenery and surrounding were so peaceful. I can just imagine how everything looks like in the spring! Fitting for this charming town, the Mandeville Trailhead (my stopping point to turn around) included a renovated train station, complete with a splash park.

The Mandeville Trailhead includes a splash park.

The Mandeville Trailhead includes a splash park.

After my walk, I learned that Tammany Trace was inducted into the 2017 Rail-Trail Hall of Fame, the first rail-trail in Louisiana to receive national honors. I can’t wait to try out the other points of interest along Tammany Trace. Did I hear correctly there is a trailhead in Abita Springs, home of Abita Brewing Company? I’ll be back!