Upper Ouachita NWR is part of the North Louisiana Refuges Complex which is headquartered at D'Arbonne NWR. Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located within the City Limits of Monroe, LA.

The Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge encompasses the upper Ouachita River from Sterlington north to near the Arkansas line. The refuge is managed to conserve, enhance, and restore bottomland hardwood forests and important, associated upland habitats of the Lower Mississippi River Valley ecoregion. When waters flood the refuge, wetland forestland provides habitat to wetland-dependent wildlife. 

Birders know this site for its summer-wading birds, winter waterfowl, and raptors, especially Golden Eagles. A few Golden Eagle families venture into Louisiana each year, setting up near large concentrations of ducks and geese and always in the most isolated places. 

Forested areas are thick with birdlife, including numerous species of woodpeckers, flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, and wrens. Nearly 20 species of warblers have been recorded here. Additionally, the refuge provides habitat for alligators, forest interior songbirds, bald eagles, Louisiana black bears, the little-known Rafinesque’s big-eared bat, migrating shorebirds, and the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. 

Not for the faint of heart, even the access roads to the refuge can be challenging to navigate. This site is not for automobiles or any other low-centered vehicles. Amenities other than directional signage, numerous ATV/hunting trails, and some designated parking are few and far between. This site is for the more intrepid naturalists, hunters, and fishermen. 

Enter the refuge from the east through Stevenson Road and Gravel Pit Road. Check-in at the self-clearing permit station kiosk. From here, access roads lead in three directions. Be advised that most of the refuge is prone to backwater and periodic flooding between January and June. Boating in via the Ouachita River is a viable option.