Plan Your Visit


Contact Us 

Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge is located in St. Francisville, Louisiana, approximately 30 miles north of Baton Rouge. This refuge is administered from Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Headquarters in Lacombe, LA.

Mailing Address: 61389 Hwy 434, Lacombe, LA 70445
Telephone: (985) 882-2031
Fax: (985) 882-0133
Email:  Refuge Manager

How To Get There 

From Natchez, MS: From U.S. Highway 61S, turn right onto Highway 66 and turn left (west toward Angola). Continue 1.5 miles, and then turn left on Solitude Road. Continue approximately 3.5 miles, and then turn right at the refuge sign. Continue another 1.5 miles to the refuge entrance.

From St. Francisville, LA: From Commerce St. take Ferdinand St. one mile and take a right on Mahoney Rd. Go three miles, cross the low-water crossing bridge and take a left on Creek Rd. Take a slight left to stay on Creek Rd. Creek Rd continues to the Cat Island NWR Entrance. Be aware that this route may not be accessible when river levels are high. 

Know Before You Go

Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge consists of 10,473 acres. We strongly recommend you do not rely on an electronic navigation device to find your way around the refuge. Inaccurate maps and limited reception can lead you astray.

Download a refuge map and regulations at this link.

View this page for a Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge map to see trails and significant locations on the refuge.

All visitors are required to complete a Daily Visitor Use Reporting Card each day they visit the refuge. Cards are located in the kiosk at each refuge entrance.

There are no facilities on Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge. Roads are generally passable in a 2-wheel drive vehicle, but are in primitive condition. The refuge is located along a large bend in the Mississippi River. When river levels rise or are expected to rise, refuge access may be limited or closed due to flooding or threat of flooding. Refuge access becomes questionable when the Mississippi River is rising and reaches 20’ on the Baton Rouge gauge. Click here for current river stages. 

For visitor information, please stop at the St. Francisville Historical Society at 11757 Ferdinand Street in St. Francisville, Louisiana 70775. Visitor maps are also located at the entrance to the refuge.

Points of Interest 

National Champion Bald Cypress Tree
Big Cypress Trail: Giant Bald Cypress Tree

Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to an impressively large bald cypress tree.  At a height of 96 feet, a diameter of 17 feet, and a circumference of 56 feet, it is truly a sight to behold. The tree is estimated to be approximately 1,500 years old. Visitors may view the tree by way of the Big Cypress Trail, a .75 mile round-trip trail through a unique mixture of bottomland hardwood forest on flat terrain. Parking is located at the trailhead, which is located 4.6 miles from the main gate. This trail is in a "no hunting area". This trail allows foot traffic only.


View of woods from Black Fork Walking Trail
Blackfork Hiking Trail

The 2.5 mile-long  Blackfork Walking Trail was created and is maintained by volunteer members of the Louisiana Hiking Club. This scenic trail winds through the cypress forest and is marked by white diamond markers, providing an easy walk over relatively flat terrain. The trail starts from the refuge road, 1.7 miles from the main gate, with parking across from the trailhead. Less than a mile from the trailhead, the trail splits around a short loop following Blackfork Bayou. Visitors will pass by spectacular, large old-growth cypress trees. The trail is in a "no hunting area" and allows foot traffic only.

Man hiking on a gravel road through the forest