In my younger years, I frequented the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA), deep within Louisiana’s 1 million–acre Atchafalaya River Basin, to hunt migrating waterfowl or whitetail deer in fall and winter. In summer, I always returned to hike and camp and was usually the only soul on the maze of trails or in the bayous, making the region a far cry from the crowded state parks nearby. The property became a place of solace, where I knew I could trek for miles in the backcountry, sharing it only with bears and alligators.
These WMAs exist in most states and are maintained for wildlife habitat. They make for fantastic hiking trails and pristine forests after hunters pack up for the season. With our national parks growing ever more crowded, we rounded up seven of the best WMAs around the country for those who want to avoid the masses.