The star indicates the parking area to enter the two trail systems. The trail system located at the nature station environmental education facility is located off of East Alexander Street, the new, longer trail system is located off of Shadow Bluff.
The Acadiana Park Nature Trail is a 42-acre tract of land purchased by the City of Lafayette in 1967. This land has been maintained in an unaltered state to provide a wooded oasis in the midst of sprawling urbanization. It is the goal of the Acadiana Park Nature Station staff to retain this forest complex as a living record of this areas natural landscape.
Upon entering the park, first-time visitors are often surprised to find a series of sloping hills in this region, which is typically known for being very flat. These hill-like formations actually represent the Mississippi River escarpment which divides this area into floodplain and prairie ecosystems.
Today, the active body within the park is the François Coulee (also known as the Dan Debaillon Coulee). François Coulee drains from west to east near the northern edge of the park, following the old Mississippi River meander. In spring, its waters contain largemouth bas, bluegill and channel catfish. Autumn finds the coulee encrusted with a small floating aquatic plant called duckweek (Lemna sp.), and supporting another community of fishes that include bowfin (locally known as choupique) and spotted gar. The term “coulee” is from the French word couler, meaning “to flow.”