From Gardner LA, head northeast on LA-121 N toward LA-28 E, Turn right onto LA-28 W, destination is 1 mile on LA-28 W.

One of the best introductions to the massive Kisatchie National Forest comes with a visit to the Valentine Lake Recreational Complex within the Calcasieu Ranger District. 

Valentine Lake offers a beautiful setting for birding. Birds inhabiting the bottomland hardwood forest habitat include Wood Duck, Red-shouldered Hawk, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, and various vireos and woodpeckers. Nesting warbler species include Prothonotary, Hooded, and Northern Parula. In winter, additional species such as Blue-headed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers join these. A primitive path that follows the lake's edge, including several marshy areas, continues around the lake to a campground. This is the trail to take if you want to see water dwellers like Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, various swallows, and Belted Kingfisher. 

In addition to birding, visitors can hike, bike, fish, and picnic here. This site offers primitive camper/trailer campsites but no water and electrical hookups. Valentine Lake has its own nature trail and hosts a trailhead to Kisatchie’s 31-mile Wild Azalea National Recreation Trail. Additional amenities at Valentine Lake’s Day-Use area include parking, restrooms, and good directional/interpretive/identification signage.