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Plan Your Visit

Ridge Trail Boardwalk ViewView from the Ridge Trail boardwalk

Wild, just outside the city of New Orleans, Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge is rich in wildlife and recreation opportunities. Thousands of people visit the refuge each year to enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, paddling, bird watching, nature photography, self-guided tours, and other interpretive and educational programs.


From Slidell: Take I-10 west; take Irish Bayou exit #254; turn left onto Highway 11.

From New Orleans: Take I-10 east to exit #246A (Chalmette, I-510); go about 2 miles on I-510 to Highway 90 East exit; turn left and go approximately 4 miles.

Interpretive kiosks are located on Highway 11 and on Highway 90.

The refuge headquarters and visitor center are located in Lacombe, Louisiana, between Mandeville and Slidell. The center is situated at 61389 Highway 434 two miles south of I-12 (Exit 74) and just north of the intersection of Highways 434 and 190. Look for the Big Branch Marsh Refuge sign.


Visitors are welcome on the refuge seven days a week, during daylight hours.

The refuge is closed at night, except as noted otherwise.

Paddling:  Bayou Sauvage NWR waterways are accessible from various locations; the Madere Marsh unit on U.S. Hwy 90, and the boat launch on U.S. Hwy 11.

Walking:  The Ridge Trail boardwalk, also on U.S. Hwy 90, a quarter mile north of Madere Marsh, is the most popular short hike on the refuge, affording views of a variety of habitats.


Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.

Tell a relative or friend where you are going and when you should return.

Pets must be on a leash.

Be sure to bring drinking water, insect repellent and sunscreen.

During hunting season, non-hunters are encouraged to wear hunter orange vests.

Hunters and fishermen, be prepared and observe State and Federal fishing and hunting regulations.

Refuge Hunting and Fishing Regulations also apply.




The visitor center showcases the wildlife and habitat of eight national wildlife refuges in the region, including Big Branch Marsh NWR.

  • The headquarters site is not open for hunting or fishing.
  • Enjoy two miles of trails and walkways.
  • Meander through sections of the historic botanical garden which boasts hundreds of flowering camellias and azaleas.
  • Take a leisurely look at the area’s natural habitats, and discover the banks of Bayou Lacombe.
  • Kids, bring your sense of adventure and check out a Junior Ranger kit!
  • Hands-on learning activities entertain kids of all ages.
  • A bookstore/gift shop is operated by the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges.
Volunteers are needed to help run the visitor center. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, please contact the volunteer coordinator at (985) 882-2000.

Grounds and trails located at the Bayou Lacombe Center are open to the public Monday – Friday 7:30 am – 4:00 pm, and Saturdays 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.

The visitor center, with bookstore and gift shop, is open Thursday – Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. For more information, call (985) 882-0093.

The administrative complex located at the Bayou Lacombe Center is open Monday-Friday 7:30 am – 4:00 pm. The office is closed on weekends and all Federal holidays. For more information, contact refuge staff at (985) 882-2000.

Page Photo Credits — Ridge Trail Boardwalk View, Chris Carrell (USFWS)
Last Updated: Aug 02, 2016
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