your paddlesports destination

Bayou Sara in Louisiana

Trip Overview

My wife and I launched our kayaks near the ferry landing in St. Francisville and paddled up Bayou Sara. The Mississippi river was at 40 ft (very high for winter). The river being so high backs up a large amount of floodwater into the bayou. When the river is high, the bayou becomes like a large blue lake with little current. When the river is low (below 25 ft), numerous sandbars are exposed along the edge of the stream, but the current is more difficult to paddle against upstream and sometimes Bayou Sara which is 30 ft deep during floods can only be a few feet deep during extremely dry periods. So be aware of the Mississippi's river stage. At times the water in Bayou Sara is as blue and clear as many streams in Florida and you can see schools of gar swimming below the surface. In Bayou Sara we saw a few gators, a bald eagle, osprey, buntings, warblers, and deer. During hunting season be aware that there are a few deer stands along the edge of the stream. The nicest stretch of the bayou is north of St. Francisville and south of the low water bridge along Tunica Road. Nice mixture of swamp and upland hardwoods. It makes a great day or half-of-day trip and if you want to stretch you legs, go visit the Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge nearby (has the largest cypress tree in North America).

Accommodations:

Several restaurants in St. Francisville and across the Mississippi River in New Roads. Best Western and 3 V cabins in St. Francisville as well two hotels in New Roads.

Fees:

No fees or permits needed.

Directions:

Near ferry landing in St. Francisville along LA HWY 10, just off Hwy 61, 35 miles north of Baton Rouge. Pull off the gravel road near ferry landing and launch a canoe or kayak directly into Bayou Sara, or into the Mississippi and paddle into Bayou Sara. Be aware of the waves produced by the ferry and passing barges and time your launch accordingly.

Resources:

USGS 7.5' Quad St. Francisville, LA 1994
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip