Hodges Gardens State Park
Hodges Gardens State Park is nestled in the tall pines of West Central Louisiana along Hwy 171 between Many and Leesville. Known as the “Garden in the Forest”, the Park is one of the most unique additions to Louisiana’s State Parks system. Famous for its botanical gardens and cultural events since 1956, the Park is part of the original 107,000 acres of clear cut land purchased by A.J. Hodges, Sr. between 1937 and 1940. Mr. Hodges replanted 39,000 acres in pine seedlings and became the leader of the reforestation movement. He and his wife, Nona Trigg Hodges, saw the potential of the land and began building the gardens, which were opened to the public in 1956 and formally dedicated in 1959.
In 2007, the Hodges Foundation donated 948 acres to the State of Louisiana to become a state park. In addition to the formal and natural gardens, the 225 acre crescent shaped lake is a peaceful place to fish, canoe or kayak. The 5.3 mile loop road, with its hills and curves is a challenge for bikers and walkers. If you can make the loop, you are considered a “super looper”! There is an abundance of wildlife, including white tail deer, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, otters, snakes, beavers, geese and ducks. Rustic cabins and tent sites are perfect for the weekend getaway.
Admission is $5 per person, $4 for seniors 62+ and children under 3 are admitted free. Annual passes are available for $80 and admit the cardholder and any passengers in the vehicle. The gates open at 8AM daily and close at 9PM Sunday through Thursday and 10PM on Friday and Saturday. The Gift Shop is now being operated by the Friends of Hodges Gardens State Park. It is currently opened Friday-Sunday 10:00-5:00. The Gardens close at sunset.
The Park is a quiet and serene atmosphere, with winding paths and trickling streams throughout the gardens. The sunrises and sunsets are beautiful across the lake. An inspirational and picturesque place that is sure to renew the soul and refresh the spirit.