Even though the city of New Orleans doesn't offer many hiking trails, the surrounding areas do have several great trails, including those along the Mississippi River. Also, a few impressive wildlife refuges and parks are located on the Gulf of Mexico coast.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is the closest large park to the city. It offers the Barataria Trail, a 4-mile (6.5 km) trail featuring the best of Louisiana scenery, with wildflowers, swamps, large oaks, marshes, and alligators.
Only a 45 minute drive from the city, Fontainebleau State Park features a boardwalk nature trail with views of the marsh and the lake. The park trail is about 5 miles (8 km) long.
The Mississippi River Trail is the most popular among locals. It's a paradise for pedestrians and cyclists with paved and unpaved pathways running along the Mississippi River in the New Orleans area. Some parts of the trail go through rural landscapes, while other parts cross industrial city sections and piers.
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge boasts lush flora and fauna. The most popular short hike in the area is the Ridge Trail Boardwalk providing views of a variety of habitats. Another option is the Maxent Levee trail (3-mile walk one way) with some great wildlife watching opportunities from the crown of the levee.
The best time for hiking near New Orleans is during the cooler and dryer season due to unbearable heat and high humidity in the summer.