Plan Your Visit

View of a canal lined with trees

Located in the heart of the “Cajun Coast” near the city of Franklin, Louisiana - Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge conserves over 9000 acres of once vast coastal bottomland hardwood forest and bald cypress tupelo swamp habitats. Bayou Teche, the Refuge’s namesake – a 125 mile long sinuous waterway rich in scenery, history and culture – is an ancient channel of the Mississippi River.

Phone Numbers/Email:

General Information: 337-828-0061
Law Enforcement: 985-882-2041


1725 Willow St.
Franklin, LA 70538

How to get there:

Located approximately 55 miles south of Lafayette, LA and 108 miles southwest of New Orleans, the Refuge encompasses 9,028 acres around the town of Franklin. The refuge consists of six non-contiguous management units, ranging in size from 81 acres to 3,619 acres.

Refuge Headquarters from Louisiana I-90:
From I-90 take the Franklin exit 3211, and turn northeast (right if coming from New Orleans, left if coming from Lafayette). At the four-way stop turn right onto Chatsworth and travel straight for @ one mile. After crossing a metal swing bridge turn left (east) and the office will be on the right.

Fairfax Foster Bailey Public Boat Launch:
From I-90 take the Franklin exit 3211. Turn northeast, (right if coming from New Orleans, left if coming from Lafayette). At the four-way stop turn right onto Chatsworth and travel straight for @ 1 mile. After you cross the metal swing bridge take an immediate right onto Willow St. then take the first right to the public boat launch, located under the highway overpass.

Verdunville Boat Launch:
From I-90 take the Cedarville exit. Follow Hwy 317 into Centerville. Turn left onto Hwy 182 at stop in center of town, go a few blocks and turn right to cross Bayou Teche. Turn right at the "T" of Hwy 87, Turn left onto Lake Rd. Cross the bridge and turn right onto gravel road at "T" and go over the levee to boat ramp.

Know before you go:

Bayou Teche NWR is made up of six separate units: the Franklin Unit, Centerville Unit, Garden City Unit, North Bend East Unit, West Bend Unit, and Bayou Sale Unit. Download maps of these units at upper left sidebar.

Motorized vehicles are allowed only on public roads and in designated parking areas.

The Refuge is open to non-motorized boating year round. Motorized boats are allowed in the Franklin Unit Canals (Hanson, Wood duck, Black bear, and Alligator) between the dates of April 16 – August 31. This area in the Franklin Unit of the refuge is closed to motorboats from September 1 through April 15 to protect the Louisiana black bear.

The refuge’s paddling trails are a great way to view wildlife and explore the refuge. The largest unit in the Refuge, the Franklin Unit, is open year round to non-motorized boats. The Franklin Unit has many old logging canals designated as paddling trails - called Black Bear Trail, Alligator Trail and Wood Duck Trail. Download a paddle trail map at the upper left sidebar. Paddlers should be aware that between April 16 - August 31 they may encounter motorboats on these paddle trails.

May through September can be hot and buggy. Bring sunscreen, plenty of water, and insect repellent.

Hunting, fishing, hiking, and boating are popular activities within the Refuge. Download the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge Public Use Regulations for guidance and regulations.