Caney Lakes Recreation Area- Kisatchie National Forest

From the town of Minden, take Hwy 159 north, and turn west onto Caney Lake Road to reach the main entrance on the north side of the Rec Area. There is also access to the south side via more rural roads.

The Caney Lakes, separated by an accessible dam, are set within the Caney Lakes Unit of the Kisatchie National Forest. The Caney Lakes Recreation Complex has a variety of day-use areas to choose from. Most of the area’s birding, biking, and hiking occurs on the eight-mile Sugar Cane National Recreation Trail. 

Most of this site is set in mixed pine-hardwoods, often with a thick understory of saplings, privet, and blackberry thickets–perfect for observing species such as Winter and Carolina Wrens, Song, Lincoln’s and Swamp Sparrows, and Yellow-breasted Chat. Expect forest songbirds such as Eastern Wood-Pewee, Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Bluebird, and Chipping Sparrow in the canopy. 

The lakes are lined with bald cypress, holding nesting Yellow-throated Warblers each summer. Small inlets provide additional swamp and marsh habitats, occasionally holding species such as Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Spotted Sandpiper, Great Blue and Green Herons, Great Egret, and other waders. 

The site attracts numerous open-water waterfowl species, including Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, and Green-winged Teal, as well as divers such as Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, and Ruddy Duck. Raptors constantly work the lakes and surrounding forests. These include Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, with occasional visits by Osprey, Mississippi Kite, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks. A spotting scope is highly recommended for lake viewing. 

A beach area is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Activities include swimming, beach volleyball, paddling, boating, water skiing, and fishing. Facilities include various parking areas, bathrooms/drinking fountains, campsites, picnic facilities, and a fishing pier. The main parking lot is closed between October and May. However, the area may still be accessed by parking at the trailhead along the main road and from the boat launch at the upper lake. 

Parks & Nature