Dig Baton Rouge

A walk among the trees

By Chase Berenson

As the new semester starts and the temperatures (hopefully) start cooling down, now is a great time to start getting outdoors if you’ve been trying to avoid the heat of the summer.

To start your new outdoor journey off with a relatively short and easy jaunt, BREC’s Laurens H. Cohn, Senior Memorial Plant Arboretum is a great choice to check out.

The arboretum is small in overall area, but manages to pack quite a punch with the space it has available. A little over a mile of trails meander through the arboretum, allowing visitors to explore the whole space. It’s centered around a large lake, and some trails loop the lake while others head off towards wooded or grassy areas.

The Arboretum contains over three hundred different plant species, including everything from towering trees to the tiniest flower. These trails are meant to be traveled slowly, enabling visitors to notice the details and truly experience this microcosm of a larger forest.

The trails also wind through a butterfly garden and a bamboo forest, among other sites. In areas with heavy flower growth, it’s nearly impossible not to notice the pleasant floral scents wafting down the trail.

The trails blend man-made elements into the natural setting, and are interesting in their own right. Elevated platforms rise over some areas of the Arboretum, yet feel as if they are as natural an element as the trees.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a bridge passing through the bamboo forest has been painted bright red, and stands out starkly from the green bamboo stalks growing around it. The Arboretum was designed with an artistic flair, which only adds to the experience.

Most of the trails are paved, though even the gravel ones are easy to maneuver. The trails are great for someone looking to get their hiking legs back after a long, hot summer.

But that shouldn’t lead more experienced hikers to shy away from the Arboretum. If you don’t have much time and want to get outdoors, this is a quality place to check out.

To get even more out of your visit, you can call ahead for a guided tour of the Arboretum. The Arboretum is located out past the airport, and in the same general areas as some other great BREC parks.

Whether you’re looking for some more excitement after the Arboretum, or you’re just taking notes for future trips now that you know the route, you can easily reach the Blackwater Conservation Area or the Hooper Road Park from the Cohn Arboretum. For more information on all of BREC’s parks visit brec.org.

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