Plan Your Visit

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Visitor Center:

480 Richland Place
Monroe, LA 71203

318-387-1114  or

The Visitor Center and Learning Center are located less than a mile from Highway 165. Turn onto Richland Place and keep right when road splits. If using a mobile device, please make sure that the directions do not take you to the east side of the refuge. Call the Visitor Center if you need further assistance.

Points of Interest

Black Bayou Lake has a visitor center with exhibits located in a restored 1890s planter’s house. Restrooms and a bookstore are also available at the Visitor Center during business hours. Next to the Visitor Center is the Conservation Learning Center which includes a live animal exhibit primarily of reptiles and fish. The Learning Center also has a wonderful mural highlighting the variety of species located in Black Bayou Lake. Hours are the same as the Visitor Center. M-F 8 AM-4 PM, Sat 9 AM-5 PM, and Sunday 1 AM-5 PM.

Visitors may walk a mile-long nature trail through a variety of habitats including bottomland hardwood forest, cypress swamp and out onto the wildlife pier that extends over Black Bayou Lake. The pier is a popular location for wildlife viewing, especially for alligators and birds. Visitors are also welcome to fish from the pier provided they have a valid LA fishing license. 
Other points of interest include the Prairie Trail and Arboretum Trail near the Visitor Center. Next to the Visitor Center is also a small pollinator garden featuring native plants.

Further down is the Observation Deck Road which has a short trail to an observation deck overlooking a swampy area and the Photo Blind overlooking a seasonally full pond.

For children, the Challenge Trail off the boat launch road is a popular destination with ten self-explanatory activities related to wildlife of Louisiana.

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Know Before You Go

Black Bayou Lake is an urban refuge so all amenities are available within a short drive of the Visitor Center. We do not sell food or beverages although water fountains are available at the Visitor Center. Southern summers are extremely hot and humid so be prepared and bring something to stay hydrated. Insect repellant is recommended. As a wildlife refuge we do contain a variety of wildlife that could be considered hazardous. Do not approach wildlife.  If you encounter something on a trail, avoid any encounters by returning the way you came – wildlife is protected. The main trails are universally accessible as is the wildlife pier.

The refuge is open year-round during daylight hours; night activities are prohibited. Visitors are responsible for knowing hunting and fishing regulations.