From US Highway 190 in Port Barre go left onto Saizon Street. Take a right on Bayou Road and Trailhead will be on the left next to boat launch. Once launched in boat, go right on Bayou Courtableu approximately 3 tenths of a mile to the entrance of Bayou Teche, go right into Bayou Teche and down to mile 1 where optimal habitat begins. Boat 10 miles to the Leonville Trailhead at mile 11.2.

This boat-in-only trail is a special treat for birders and paddlers looking for an authentic Cajun back-country experience. The 11-mile Bayou Teche National Water & Paddle Trail runs through lush, mature bottomland hardwood and cypress swamp habitats between Port Barre and Leonville–two quintessential Cajun small-town destinations. 

Bird species of common occurrence along this water trail include Wood Duck, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great Egret, Green Heron, Mississippi Kite, and Northern Cardinal. You’ll also paddle beneath several low bridges, the undersides of which offer up-close views of Cliff Swallows and their nests.

You’ll hear and occasionally observe many other songbirds associated with local bottomland hardwood habitats, such as White-eyed, Yellow-throated, and Red-eyed Vireos, Acadian and Great-crested Flycatchers, and a variety of warblers Take the opportunity to poke into cypress-studded tributaries and look for swamp dwellers like Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, and Prothonotary Warbler.

During migration, this riparian corridor serves as a super-highway for birds heading either south toward wintering grounds or north toward breeding grounds. Expected species include flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, orioles, tanagers, and buntings. Winter birding is excellent as well. 

Access to the trail from Port Barre is via the Bayou Courtableu boat launch. Once launched, go right and paddle about a quarter-mile, then take a right into the head of Bayou Teche.

This boat-in-only trail has handicapped-accessible boat launches, but assistance may be required during low-water periods when the launch ramp is steeper. Watch for counter snags or fallen trees, especially during high-water periods when the bayou runs faster.

Parks & Nature