Located near the town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, 30 miles north of Baton Rouge, Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge conserves some of the region's last naturally functioning bottomland hardwood forest habitat. The Mississippi River carved this unique landscape of ridges and swales, cypress-tupelo swamps, meandering drains and backwater sloughs. These features coupled with annual flooding provide highly productive habitat for diverse fish and wildlife including backwater fisheries, migratory songbirds, wintering waterfowl, Louisiana black bear, and other resident wildlife.
Refuge is OPEN

All trails are open for walking or non-motorized use. The Big Cypress and Blackfork trails are open only to walkers and non-motorized use. The River, Blue Goose, and a portion of the Wood Duck trail are open to ATV/UTV use for hunting and fishing purposes. See Cat Island's refuge-specific ATV/UTV regulations in the public use brochure for more details.

Access to the refuge continues to be by way of the new parish servitude, which bypasses a damaged portion of Creek Road. Vehicle access ends at the parking lot at the Wood Duck trailhead.  Any vehicle access beyond this point requires a Special Use Permit. 

River levels on the Baton Rouge tide gauge can be checked at this link or through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at 301/427-9855.   


Visit Us

Visitors enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing, and wildlife photography and observation. The refuge is home to a national champion bald cypress, one of the largest tree of any species east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Estimated to be about 1,500 years old, the tree is 96 feet tall, 17 feet in diameter and 56 feet in circumference. 






Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Cat Island is located near the town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, 30 miles north of Baton Rouge. The refuge was established to conserve, restore, and manage native forested wetland habitats for migratory birds, aquatic resources and endangered and threatened plants and animals. 

      What We Do

      Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It drives everything on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters managed within the Refuge System, from the purposes for which a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
      A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Learn more about national wildlife refuge
      is established, to the recreational activities offered, to the resource management tools used. Using conservation best practices, the Refuge System manages Service lands and waters to help ensure the survival of native wildlife species.   

      Our Species