Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge - Franklin Trail

On Hwy 90, turn at Exit 152 for LA 3211 Franklin. Head West on Hwy 3211 to Frontage Rd. Turn South (left). Travel less than a mile (.8) where you will come to a big dead-end sign and see a tree. Park here.

Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge is located in the coastal zone towns of Franklin, Garden City and Centerville on Bayou Teche in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana.  The refuge’s Franklin Trail is located on the Franklin Unit of the refuge. It follows the west side of the Franklin Canal and is approximately 1.5 miles long. This is Bayou Teche NWR’s only trail that is open all year and not closed during hunting season.

The trail is an easy walk that is mostly high and dry. Along the way, waterbirds, along with alligators and other reptiles and amphibians, live in abundance in the canal, swamps, and marshes.

This trail runs along the canal southward through freshwater marsh habitat and toward the Gulf. Expected waterbird species here include Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Wood Duck, Lesser Scaup, Pied-billed Grebe, King Rail, and Common Gallinule. Wading birds are quite common year round, especially species such as Great Blue Heron, Great and Snowy Egrets, and White Ibis, along with Anhinga.

Being at a slightly higher elevation, the trail itself is lined with bottomland hardwood forest tree species such as water and live oaks, hackberry, and honey locust. Here, be on the lookout for Mississippi Kite, Red-shouldered, Broad-winged, and Red-tailed Hawks, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Acadian and Great-crested Flycatchers. Warblers and other songbirds are common and active in the trees, including species such as Black-and-white, Prothonotary, Kentucky, and Hooded Warblers, White-eyed, Yellow-throated, and Red-eyed Vireos, Summer Tanager, Northern Cardinal, and both Indigo and Painted Buntings.

In winter, the shrubs and thickets are alive with House, Sedge, and Marsh Wrens, Common Yellowthroat, and numerous sparrows, including White-crowned, White-throated, Song, and of course, Swamp.

This site is for serious birders and other naturalists. Amenities are limited to minimal parking, primitive trail, and identification signage. Not handicapped-accessible.