Things to do Near Lake Bistineau State Park

Located just 30 miles east of north Louisiana’s largest metro area, Shreveport and Bossier City, Lake Bistineau State Park offers a quick day trip or an overnight getaway for visitors to the hilly, forested reaches of the northeast part of the Bayou State.

Lake Bistineau’s backstory is a fascinating one. In 1800, when there was an epic logjam on the Red River (which goes through Shreveport), water backed up into the forests, flooding thousands of acres where Lake Bistineau now sits. As the waters receded due to dredging and the natural lake began to drain, a permanent dam at the appropriately named Loggy Bayou was constructed. Lake Bistineau was the result of this massive feat of engineering. At nearly 27 square miles of surface area today, you can be sure that there’s plenty to see at Lake Bistineau State Park.

Fishing, boating, swimming and sunbathing are popular activities here. You’ll find the boat launch located near a narrow inlet at the park, allowing boaters to get into Lake Bistineau with ease. A fishing pier is nearby, too, so you don’t necessarily need to be on the water to catch bass, bluegill, catfish or redear sunfish that call these waters home.

Nearly 10 miles of forested trails run through the park, allowing visitors on bike or on foot to see the landscape of cypress and tupelo trees. Take the 3.8 mile Willis Homestead Trail to see stands of both common trees (like sparkleberry and loblolly pines) and rarer species (like cow oak and prickly ash, also known as the “toothache tree”), or the short .4 mile Discovery Circle that serves as a fine introduction to Lake Bistineau State Park. A disc golf course can be found near the group camping facility.

Overnight guests can rest easy in one of Lake Bistineau State Park’s seven deluxe cabins, the deluxe lodge (capable of accommodating up to 14 guests), or the group camp which, with 20 cabins and capacity for 160 guests, means that even large parties can get together for an unforgettable experience under the stars here. And for overnight guests bringing their own accommodations with them, Lake Bistineau State Park has RV spots with water and electrical hookups.

Nearby Attractions

Twenty miles north of Lake Bistineau State Park is Minden, a charming north Louisiana town conveniently located near I-20. The town is named for a much larger, ancient city in northern Germany. Its main cultural attraction, the Germantown Colony Museum, honors the legacy of a group of German settlers who came to this then-remote stretch of wilderness in 1835. The group’s leader was a self-described prophet who sought to establish a communal settlement for his followers, though he died of yellow fever before achieving his goal. His wife continued his work, and the short-lived utopia (which disbanded in the 1870s) is commemorated today with buildings that remain from it. The town’s German heritage is also remembered annually with the Minden Fasching Carnival and Parade, a Mardi Gras-style weekend event that has brought the city together for more than 20 years.

Those looking for a bite to eat after a day on Lake Bistineau should check out Minden’s restaurants. For some down-home Southern soul food, look no further than Dorcheat Seafood & Grill, Crawfish Hole #2 Steak & Seafood Restaurant and Grace Estate.