By Chase Berenson
Split into two pieces by its namesake road, the Highland Road Community Park is definitely a spot worth checking out.
The park comprises nearly 150 acres situated on Highland Road in between Siegen and I-10, just a couple miles further from campus than the arboretum. It is one of the jewels of the BREC system, and it’s truly an enjoyable multi-purpose recreational area.
When you first pull into the park, you’re greeted by the meandering two-thirds-of-a-mile walking loop. The flat, paved trail is on the ridgeline of one of the highest points of the park and features manicured trees right beside the footpath. The center of the loop even features a working sundial, where you stand in the center and your body’s shadow points to the approximate time.
In addition to the walking loop, the park also features tennis courts, a playground, and football and soccer fields. The vast majority of park visitors utilize these built-in amenities, however they are just scratching the surface of what the park offers.
Another attraction is the disc golf course, which leads through the hills in the center of the park. Even if you’re not up on your disc golf skills, the course is a great place to explore. You’ll find yourself climbing up hills, crossing wooden bridges, marching under lone oaks and through woods. Or if you’re not playing disc golf, you can just forget about the course and head off on your own path. The massive fields and meadows allow plenty of area to roam and find your favorite spot. When I head out here, I almost always find myself spending more time than expected just walking the fields.
This would also be a great spot to picnic away from the more developed areas of the park, as long as you don’t mind carrying your blanket and picnic basket from the parking lot.
At first glance, the section of the park on the opposite side of Highland Road doesn’t seem to be too exciting, as the only things over there are baseball fields and the archery range, but just behind the line of trees lays one of the park’s major surprises. Back in the woods behind the archery range you’ll find the Highland Park Trail, which takes you through the woods and along the banks of Bayou Fountain. It’s a short trail, but it is a honest-to-goodness wooded trail right here in southern Baton Rouge. You can get out there in the forest and check out the bayou as it looks in a bit of wilderness, not just as we normally see it running alongside roads.
From the hiking trail to rolling hills, the paved walking path to tennis courts, this is truly an outdoor spot that has a little for everyone.
Even if your friends can’t all agree on what outdoor activity they want to do, as long as you like fresh air and sunshine the whole gang will be happy at Highland Road Community Park.