Plan Your Visit

water lilies copyright Tom Carlisle

Located in “Cajun Country,” Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), conserves over 15,000 acres of once vast lower Mississippi alluvial bottomland hardwood forest and bald cypress tupelo swamp habitats. These bottomland forests and a mix of bayous, oxbow lakes, sloughs, and swamps create a diversity of habitats important to a wide range of species, especially waterfowl and other migratory birds.

Phone Numbers/Email:

General Information: 985-882-2000
Law Enforcement: 985-882-2041

Mailing Address:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges, Hwy. 434, Lacombe, LA 70445

For Public Use Questions:

Contact the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Sherburne Wildlife Management Area: 337/948-0255 email: 

How to get there:

Atchafalaya NWR is located in the lower Atchafalaya Basin Floodway System in St. Martin and Iberville Parishes, Louisiana. The Refuge is west of Baton Rouge, and east of Lafayette. It is bounded on the north by U.S. Highway 190, on the south by Interstate 10, on the west by the Atchafalaya River, and on the east by the East Atchafalaya Basin Protection Levee. LA 975 runs along the western border of the Refuge between Highway 190 and I-10.

Directions from Highway 190: Exit south onto LA 975 just east of Krotz Springs. 

Directions from Interstate 10: Exit 127 at Whiskey Bay, north onto LA 975. 

Entrance to the interior of the Refuge is possible off of LA 975 via a series of all-weather roads, ATV trails, and the Big and Little Alabama Bayous.

Boat launches are available at the Little Alabama Bayou at the Sherburne Unit Headquarters , and at Big Alabama Bayou along Landing Road.

Know before you go:

The Atchafalaya NWR is part of a complex of lands collaboratively overseen by the US Fish and Wildlife Serice, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The area is managed to provide a variety of habitats for native and migratory wildlife, and to promote public outdoor recreation and access. Hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, camping, and boating are all popular activities. All persons older than 16 or younger than 60 using wildlife management areas, including the Refuge for any reason must purchase a Wild Louisiana Stamp, hunting, or fishing license from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries or other local supplier of licenses.

Water levels fluctuate in the Atchafalya NWR. Flooding may occur in late winter and spring months when the Atchafalaya Basin Flood Spillway diverts water into the Refuge. May through September are typically dryer, and can be hot and buggy. Bring sunscreen, plenty of water, and insect repellent.

Hunting and fishing regulations for the Refuge are determined by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. See state regulations (upper left sidebar) for more information. There is a fish consumption advisory in Big Alabama Bayou, due to high mercury levels found in fish. Pregnant women and children are cautioned against eating fish caught in this area. For more information on fish consumption advisories refer to the Louisiana Dep't. of Health website.

Camping is allowed in designated campgrounds within the Sherburne Unit. There is a primitive campground at the Sherburne Headquarters and on Hwy 975.

Shooting Range: The shooting range complex located at the Sherburne Headquarters has rifle, handgun, skeet/trap and archery ranges. The rifle range has targets at 25, 50, and 100 yards, and the handgun range has targets at 10, 25, and 50 yards. The rifle and handgun ranges are open to the public seven days a week from official sunrise to official sunset. There are 2 skeet ranges. The skeet ranges have set hours of operation which are determined by LDWF. For safety, access is restricted in areas behind the shooting ranges.

ATV Trails within the Sherburne Unit are open from March 1 to August 31. Hikers and bicycles are welcome on these trails. During hunting season blaze orange is recommended for recreationists. Take a virtual Google Earth tour of the Bayou DeOurses ATV trail at this link.