Driskill Mountain • Highpoint: State of Louisiana
• Highpoint: Bienville Parish
• Highpoint: Ouachita Foothills

Date Climbed
1. March 15, 1999
2. December 28, 2004

535 feet

2 miles round trip

40 minutes

150 feet

Both times very nice

225 feet

Click on the thumbnail to see a full-size version

Informational sign

The little red church

Beth starts in toward the trees

At the summit!

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Driskill Mountain is the highest point in Louisiana, a mere hilltop that rises to 535 feet above sea level. Located in the northern part of the state near Jonesboro, Driskill Mountain is a worthy destination that under normal circumstances, takes just a few minutes to hike. The area is forested in piney woods, but an old road allows for easy, brush-free passage to the top. Despite all this, I botched my first attempt back in 1997. I came back in 1999 and hiked it successfully, then again in 2004 with Beth

First visit, Unsuccessful (January 1997): I had flown into New Orleans a few days earlier for a few days of hiking the highest points of the southeastern states. I also had some friends living in Baton Rouge, so I saved Driskill Mountain for last as I was heading back toward the southern part of the state.

I started this day in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and popped over the state line into Louisiana, arriving to the highpoint area with no troubles. I parked near the small church just off the road, then walked the road into the trees a few hundred yards. I did not have my guidebook, and didn't think I'd need it for such a simple hike. In the trees, it all looked the same, and I could only see a few dozen yards ahead of me. I scampered up one hill, and figured this must be the highpoint. So I turned around and started the walk out.

I found the side-road with the chain strung across it, but did not know at the time I was to follow that to the real top. I walked back to my car with an uneasy feeling I hadn't hiked it properly. I drove out anyway, and had a good time with my pals down south, but when I got home and checked the guidebook, I knew I had missed it. How frustrating!

Second Visit, First Successful (March 1999): For my 1999 Spring Break from teaching, I wanted to revisit two state highpoints that I had previously visited (or thought I had), but for various reasons left me dissatisfied about them. They were Oklahoma and Louisiana. I was successful on Oklahoma's Black Mesa in 1996, but I did it under such horrible conditions that I wanted to go back in better weather. Once done there, I drove south through the Texas panhandle into Lubbock. Admittedly I thought driving all those miles east to visit Louisiana's highpoint seemed a bit silly, but I decided to go for it anyway. I went east on Interstate-20 and stayed in Eastland, west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

I awoke very early on Monday the 15th, and began my drive from Eastland. I had about 380 miles of one way driving to do before I’d get to Louisiana’s Driskill Mountain, and more than once I doubted my sanity, but I pressed on anyway. Staying on Interstate-20, I encountered no significant delays, passed through Shreveport and drove another half hour to the town of Arcadia, and my jump-off point to Driskill Mountain. After getting gas, I drove the little routes to the little country church that sits at the driveway of the highpoint. Wow, how had the scenery changed! The region has been logged extensively and an entire tract of trees near the church and along the highway were gone. I drove my truck in about a quarter-mile along the muddy access road, parked, and proceeded in.

In 1997, on my first go-round with Driskill, I had neglected to bring a map or my guidebooks and as such, had no clue where to proceed once in the trees. The dense trees hid the land forms and it was not obvious at all where the true highpoint was. This time, I had my map and found the highpoint with no difficulty whatsoever. As it turned out, it was one hill to the north of where I had gone the first time. After spending a few minutes surveying all before me, I hiked out back to my car, completing the round trip in about 30 minutes.

Both objectives completed, I simply drove home, 1300 miles away. I made a long push west to Abilene, then home to Arizona the next day.

Third Visit, Second Successful and Beth's First (December 2004): After a few days in New Orleans and the Bayou country of Acadiana, highlighted by the only Christmas Day snow ever in New Orleans, Beth and I made the long drive to Natchitoches, which bills itself as the city of lights during the Holidays. We arrived about 6 p.m., got a hotel and drove into town, had dinner, then walked the waterfront and viewed the beautiful display of Christmas lights strung out everywhere, some even spanning the river that passes through town.

The next day we had a number of easy parish highpoints on the docket, highlighted by our visit to Driskill Mountain, which would allow Beth to double her state highpoint totals from one to two in one easy hike. After very quick visits to the highest points in Winn and Lincoln Parishes highpoints, the latter just a few miles up the road from Driskill Mountain, we arrived at the little red Baptist Church marking the trailhead. The weather was cool but nice, and clear. A gate now spanned the road so we parked at the church.

We followed the road into the trees and within 15 minutes arrived at the highpoint. The landowners have erected a sturdy wooden sign and past visitors have erected a good-sized cairn at the top. We spent some time here and enjoyed the visit, then returned to our truck. Two more parish visits were on the docket, and we spent that night camped at Lake Claiborne State Park, where a cute black kitty made friends with us that evening.

(c) 1999, 2004 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.