Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most undisturbed wild swamplands in the country. The refuge's remote nature is a draw for many visitors, who fish, hunt, paddle, bird watch, hike and primitive camp within the refuge.
Unique plant and animal communities adapted to the seasonal floods of the Mississippi Delta area thrive in this wild and watery habitat. Over 90% of the refuge can flood during winter and spring high river periods, creating a labyrinth of sloughs, bayous and lakes.
If you are looking for easy access, visit the Jim Schmidt Interpretive Boardwalk Trail and Fishing Pond off of Hwy 59 near Pearl River to enjoy accessible fishing piers and a nature trail.
The refuge is primarily accessed by watercraft. On the Louisiana side of the refuge there are two locations with hiking trails. The Pearl River Turnaround Fishing Pond has a short interpretive boardwalk trail, and the Holmes Bayou Trail has a 1.4 mile-long out and back hike.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex. The Southeast Louisiana Refuges are part of a rich ecological system which includes marshes, pine and bottomland hardwood forests, lakes, barrier islands, swamps and bayous. Ranging from the marshy delta at the mouth of the Mississippi to the wild bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin; the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges preserve wildlife, habitat, and recreation opportunities representative of this unique part of the country.
All of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges are open to public visits for nature-based recreational enjoyment. Priority public uses are hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education, and interpretation.
The refuge complex headquarters is located at 61389 Hwy 434, Lacombe, Louisiana 70445. This site also hosts the Bayou Lacombe Visitor Center and has walking trails that wind through an historic garden site and along Bayou Lacombe.
Rules and Policies
Enjoy exploring and recreating in your National Wildlife Refuge! Below are some rules to follow to help ensure sustainable habitat and natural resources and to ensure visitor safety.
Non-motorized watercraft only are allowed in the Pearl River Turnaround Fishing Access Site when it is open.
Vehicles are only permitted on public roads and designated parking areas.
Primitive camping is permitted within 100 feet of designated streams. Camping is closed and the refuge is closed to hunting (except waterfowl), when the water level at the Pearl River, LA station is at 15.5 feet or higher.
The following activities are prohibited:
- The possession of toxic shot while hunting is prohibited, except during the deer gun hunts
- Hunting from a permanent tree stand, or from a tree in which a metal object (such as nails, spikes, screws) has been driven
- The use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting
- Possession or distribution of bait while in the field, and hunting with the aid of bait, including any grain, salt, minerals, or any non-naturally occurring food attractant
- The use of horses and all-terrain vehicles
- All commercial hunting and fishing activities including guiding or participating in a paid guided hunt
- Target shooting
- Incidental take of hogs during the squirrel, rabbit, and turkey seasons
- Use of houseboats within refuge boundaries, except for navigational purposes
- Use of trail cameras
- The use of deer or turkey gobbler decoys
- It is unlawful to hunt from or shoot within 150 feet from the centerline of a public road, refuge road, designated or maintained trail, building, residence, designated public facility, or above ground oil, gas, or electric facilities
- The use of any type of material used as flagging or trail markers, except reflective tacks
- Field dressing game (hogs included) within 300 feet of any road, trail or parking lot
- Cutting, removing, or damaging live trees
- Searching for or removing any object of archaeological or historical significance including arrowheads, pottery or other artifacts
- It is illegal to operate unmanned aircraft on refuge property without a special permit. (*A drone flight may be permitted occasionally for research or resource management purposes). If a drone operator stands beyond refuge boundaries and flies the vehicle over the refuge, fines can be levied if the drone is observed disturbing wildlife.