Of the things Louisiana is best known for, few would choose “caves.” Indeed, Wolf Rock is the only known cave in the state, which is perhaps why it has enjoyed so much use over the years.
The 30-million year-old cave system located in Kisatchie National Forest was first occupied as far back as 2500 BCE by the Archaic peoples that populated modern-day central Louisiana. They left behind stone tools and ornaments such as axes, fish hooks, and beads, among other things in the cave. Arrowheads can still be found in the woods surrounding the cave to this day.
Millennia later, the cave’s enormous back rooms allegedly served as a Union barracks and garrison, hiding horses and supplies from the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. Local lore holds that Jesse James even used the cave as a hide-out, as it is secluded down a long dirt road.
As more people settled the surrounding area in the 1950s and 60s, the cave alternated as a campsite for local hunters and fishers, as well as a spot where teens from the nearby towns of Pitkin and DeRidder would gather for beer and shenanigans. The cave was cleaned up in the 1970s when it came under the jurisdiction of the United States Forest Service, who, after deeming the system too unstable for public visitation, triggered explosives that sealed off two back rooms.
Today, a trim dirt road off of Pitkin Highway winds to a designated parking lot for Wolf Rock Cave. It’s about a five-minute hike from the parking lot, though it does cover some uneven ground—watch your step, and keep an eye out for arrowheads.