Facility Activities

Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is rich in wildlife and recreation opportunities. Hunting, fishing, hiking, paddling, bird watching, nature photography, guided tours and educational programs are ways you can enjoy the refuge. The Bayou Lacombe Visitor Center in Lacombe is a gateway to exploring the Southeast Louisiana Refuges, with exhibits, maps, and a nature store.

Take a virtual tour of the recreation access sites of the refuge here. 

Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, is one of the few public hunting spots near New Orleans between Mandeville and Slidell in St. Tammany Parish. The refuge provides unique waterfowl, small game, and deer (archery only) hunting...

Fishing is a popular activity along the bayous, ponds, marshes, and lakeshore of the refuge. Many people enjoy crabbing, crawfishing, and fishing along Lake Rd., where there is shoreline fishing, a fishing pier and a free boat launch. Recreational fishing, crawfishing and crabbing are permitted...

The Boy Scout Road Trail Interpretive Site has great options for hiking on the refuge. Take an easy stroll over a short looping boardwalk trail, or enjoy a four-mile out and back hike that travels from pine savannah habitat, past a marsh overlook and cheniers of oak trees...

From swallow-tailed kites and brown pelicans to warblers — the refuge's coastal marsh, pine savannahs, cypress lined bayous, and hardwood forest habitats are home to a variety of bird species.

Year-round residents of the pine savannah habitat include the endangered red-cockaded...

Sapsucker Road off of Paquet Rd. provides access to an unimproved boat launch at an old pipeline canal. This shallow canal provides access to the refuge's interior marshes, bisecting the marsh to Lake Pontchartrain. Only electric motors and non-motorized boats are allowed at this launch.

Motorized boats are allowed along the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain and in the bayous that drain to the lake.  Air-thrust boats, motorized pirogues, mud boats, and go-devils are prohibited on the refuge.

Lake Road Boat Launch         ...