Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge - Francine Road

On Hwy 90, turn at Exit 159 for LA 317 Burns Point/Centerville. Head North on Hwy 317 1.1 miles until you get to the traffic light at Hwy 182 in downtown Centerville. You will turn West (left) at the light onto Hwy 182. Continue .3 mile to the Centerville bridge road. Turn right and cross the bridge. Drive until you reach Hwy 87 (Par Rd 131). Turn South (right). Continue on Hwy 87.9 miles until you reach Francine Rd. on your left.

Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge is located around the coastal zone towns of Franklin, Garden City and Centerville in St. Mary Parish. This sizable refuge consists of seven non-contiguous management units.

The refuge’s Francine Road Trail is located on the Centerville Unit of the refuge on top of a hundred-year-old levee covered by a mature tree canopy. The trail is walk-in only, used primarily by hikers, birders, botanists, and nature photographers. From the parking area trailhead, visitors can choose a 0.25-mile hike to the right or a one-mile hike to the left. This trail is primitive and becomes narrow and muddy in places. Be aware that in places, the heavy palmetto understory may obscure the trail markers.

The southern part of the site consists of restored bottomland hardwood forest habitat that grades down into a restored cypress swamp.

This restored forest is home to year-round residents such as Red-shouldered Hawk, White-eyed Vireo, Carolina Chickadee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Carolina Wren, and Northern Cardinal. In the fall, winter, and spring months, this group is augmented by nearctic species, including Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-headed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, House and Winter Wrens, along with Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

During the breeding season, be on the lookout for raptors such as Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites and Broad-winged Hawk. Nesting warblers include Prothonotary, Kentucky, and Hooded.

The cypress swamp portions of the site hold species such as Wood Duck, Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, Tufted Titmouse, and Northern Cardinal year round.

This site is for serious birders and other naturalists. Amenities are limited to gravel parking and identification/directional signage. Not handicapped-accessible.