Along this stretch of the byway, discover a rural community rich with farming, and nature in its purest form. Look for blueberry farms, watermelon stands, may haws, fresh figs, country eggs, and many times free mustard and turnip greens. Beautiful wildflowers such as the purple Verbena and the red clover spread vastly over its countryside. Along Hwy. 112 make the Talbert Pierson Cemetery stop and discover the unique custom of above the ground grave houses. The story of settlers from years past claims these unusual shelters were built to protect the bodies of their loved ones from wild animals. The primitive one room church with an attendance of 11 still has service on Sundays. Stop in Sugartown, the first permanent settlement in southwestern Louisiana, and take the one mile forest walk. If you're looking for outdoor recreation, consider the Kisatchie National Forest, Louisiana's only National Forest. Historic sites such as Fullerton Sawmill, which offer hiking, biking, and horse-back trails, good fishing, camping, and group picnic areas can be found throughout the park. Catch a glimpse of the Red Cockadad Woodpecker, an endangered species, or hike the low-land bogs with wild orchids and pitcher plants. A bit farther is Elizabeth, once a busy sawmill town. The town's city hall is housed in a historic hospital building. Near Elizabeth, visit the West Bank Wildlife Management Area, where you can stretch your legs and do some bird watching. Take note of the orchards in this area where lemons, peaches, blueberries, pecans, and muscadines are grown. The byway ends in Oakdale, where the recently opened Leatherwood Museum, housed in a circa 1880's building, tells the story of the region's timber industry. Cap off the drive with a visit to the Hardwood Mill Restaurant, known for it's hearty home cooked meals and beautiful original wooden interior walls.
DeRidder to Oakdale
Burr Ferry to DeRidder
Start your drive in the small community of Burr Ferry, which lies on the Texas/Louisiana border. Here you can see remnants of breastworks built during the Civil War. The byway heads south on Highway 111, passing the Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area, then turns east at US 190. A good stopping point is DeRidder, a charming town with a lot of history. It’s once lawless boundaries drove in the need for the 1914 building of the only Gothic Style Hanging Jail in America. Proof of its ghostly haunting can be seen by first stopping by the Beauregard Museum and viewing the ghostly image of the old jailor standing on its porch wearing a white bibbed shirt and blue jean overhauls. Legend has it that every morning the Jailor would be seen standing on its porch drinking his coffee and smoking his pipe and watching as the traffic of horse and buggies, proving that indeed ghosts do exist. The Beauregard Parish Museum, housed in a former railroad depot, is filled with local artifacts; it is especially noted for its more than 3,000 dolls. Legend has it that a little girl named Lois Loftin had no dolls growing up, so she began accumulating them as an adult and left her collection to the museum. Other historic buildings include the First National Bank in DeRidder, with its 1930s delinger style lobby. If you’re into fast horses and fancy roping, check out the action at the Beauregard Parish Civic Center-Covered Arena, which hosts rodeos year round.
Stories of this once lawless territory called the No Man's land still abound through its still rough timber lands. A trip across the lands of Beauregard, Vernon and Allen parishes will soon share this land's prosperity through rival times where justice always prevailed and lumber is still king. One will be mystified by Louisiana's tales of the myths and legends byway, a drive based on true stories, legends and gunslingers. Beginning in southwestern Louisiana at the Texas state line, the byway travels through mostly flat land originally settled by the Atakapa and Coushatta Indians. Later, the area's abundant forests led to the creation of sawmill towns. Today, visitors will find pine forests, farming markets, rodeos and friendly people ready to share their stories. Here's a sample of what you will find:
Myths & Legends Byway
Scroll to the bottom of this page for an interactive map of the Myths & Legends Byway!
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Continuing the driving down Highway 111 from Burr Ferry (rather than heading east at US 190), brings the traveler to the town of Merryville. Here the grave of Leather Britches Smith, a famed outlaw gunned down in 1912, can be found. Sites to see include the Merryville Museum and Burk's Log Cabin. The cabin was raised in 1883 and moved to Merryville, where it is situated in front of the museum. A rich abundance of artesian springs can also be spotted throughout this quaint historic town roadside. Merryville sits upon one of the world’s largest underground aquafiers. Just north of Merryville is the Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area. In winter months, northern wildlife can be seen arriving in search of warmer climates. Wild turkeys are plentiful in Clear Creek’s rolling hills.
These are just some of the stops along this byway route. Drop by one of the areas' welcome centers to discover the special events happing throughout the year. Coming soon the state will feature a Byway based website for travelers near and far to enjoy the countryside road trips.