Bayou Teche Refuge Hiking Trails
Currently the Bayou Teche Refuge has four hiking trails: The Palmetto Trail, Garden City Levee Trail and Boardwalk, Francine Road Trail and Stinson Road Trail. Feel free to visit these sites. Please remember all trails close at dark.
The Palmetto Trail
The Palmetto Trail, on the Garden City Unit of the refuge, is located on Janet E Road just off of US 90 and the service road near Franklin. The hiking trail, on the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge, is currently about 2 miles in length. It was once an oilfield location that was returned to the wild in the 1950s.We discovered this information when we found a sign that was on the site identifying Sinclair Oil. Visitors can still see remnants of the old oil site in the design of the retaining wall around the metering station. There is also a waste pit and a berm located near the site which was designed to hold liquids. The oil site was most likely built between 1940 and the 1950s.We believe that the Palmetto Hiking Trail may be the first oil field to nature trail in the United States.
The trail is built in wetlands and occasionally goes under water so knee high boots are recommended when the water is high. Insect repellent may be needed.The trail is usually dry in the fall season. The road behind the gate is normally dry at all times. The trail is used often by hikers, bird watchers and students using it as an outdoor classroom.
From Hwy. 90 take the Franklin exit (LA 3211). At the four way stop sign, take a right. At the three way stop sign, go straight. After you cross the bridge you will take a right under Hwy. 90 overpass.When Under Hwy 90 over pass take a left onto the South Frontage Road. About 2 miles from the Hwy. 90 overpass you will cross Hanson Canal. After the canal about .25 miles you will see the Janet E. Road sign on your right. GPS North 29 45’ 43.8” West 91 28’ 57.5”
This is a gravel road. The trail head is at the end of this road at the woods. North 29 45 12.2 West 91 29’ 42.1”
The Garden City Trail, on the Garden City Unit of the refuge, is on top of a flood protection levee and is operated by US Army Corps of Engineers and St. Mary Parish Levee Board. The trail is open to hiking ONLY. The top of the levee is gravel and is sometimes traveled on by government vehicles. It is not to be used by the public motorized vehicles. The trail is about 3 miles long, one way. It overlooks flooded swamp land on one side and a borrow pit on the other side. At about 400 yards from the parking lot, there will be a 300 foot boardwalk on your left. The boardwalk overlooks a cypress tupelo swamp and has interpretive signs. The tree canopy in this area protects you from sun. The top of the levee has no sun protection. This trail can be very hot during the summer months. Sunscreen is recommended as well as insect repellent.
From Hwy. 90 take the Centerville exit at (LA 317) and exit towards Burns Point. The GPS location at the over pass is
N 29 44’36” W 91 26’ 09.2”. Travel down LA 317 for about .3 miles where you will pass a gas station located on your right and then a rail road track . Turn right onto Alice C. Road at GPS N 29 44’ 18.8” W 91 26’ 22.5”. Travel down Alice C. Road about .7 miles and take a left at Pumping Station after the small bridge located at
GPS 29 44’ 25.4” W 91 27’08.3 ”. The trail head parking lot is behind the pumping station.
Garden City Levee & Boardwalk Trail
Francine Road Trail
The Francine Road Trail is on the Centerville Unit of the Refuge on top of a hundred year old levee covered by a tree canopy. The trail is open to hiking ONLY. The top of the levee is about 8 to 10 feet high. It overlooks a flooded cypress tupelo swamp that also is covered with palmetto palms. The tree canopy in this area protects you from sun however you may need insect repellent. The top of this levee is always dry. Normal hiking shoes is all that is needed. You can choose a 1/4 hike to your right or a 1 mile hike to your left.
From Hwy. 90, Exit onto (LA 317) towards Centerville. The GPS location at the over pass is
N 29 44’ 36” W 91 26’ 09.2”.Travel down 1.2 miles on (LA 317) to (LA 182) and take a left at the traffic light GPS location N 29 45’ 35.4” W 91 25’ 42.2”. Travel down (LA 182) for about .3 miles and take a right onto (LA 87) or Centerville bridge; GPS Location N 29 45’ 37.6” W 91 26’ 02.2”. Cross the Bayou Teche and take a right onto (Parish Road 131) GPS Location N 29 45’ 52.2” W 91 25’ 58.7”. Travel down (Parish Road 131) about .91 mile and take a left onto Francine Rd. at GPS location N 29 45’47.1” W 91 25’ 04.2”. Travel down Francine Rd. for about 1.13 miles to the woods at GPS location N 29 46’ 44.8” W 91 24’ 48.5”.
Stinson Road Trail
The Stinson Road Trail is located on the Centerville Unit of the refuge on top of a hundred year old levee covered by a tree canopy. The trail is open to hiking ONLY. The top of the levee is about 6 to 8 feet high. It overlooks a flooded cypress tupelo swamp that also is covered with palmetto palms. The tree canopy in this area protects you from sun however you may need insect repellent. The top of this levee is always dry. Normal hiking shoes is all that is needed. The trail is approximately one mile in length, or two miles round trip.
From Hwy. 90, take the Centerville exit GPS North 29 44’ 36 West 91 26’ 09.2” and travel down (LA 317) towards Centerville about 1.1 mile and take a left turn on (LA 182) at GPS North 29 45” 35.4” West 91 25” 42.2”
Travel down (LA 182) about .3 miles and take a right onto (LA87) GPS North 29 45’ 37.6” West 91 26’ 02.2”
Cross Bayou Teche and take a left onto (LA 87) GPS North 29 45’ 52.2” West 91 25’ 58.7”. Travel down (LA 87) about for about 1.3 miles and take a right on to Stinson Road. GPS North 29 46’ 05.3” West 91 27’ 18.8”
Travel down Stinson road about .4 miles and take a left at the check point station.
GPS North 29 46’ 29.3” West 91 27’ 12.7” Travel down about .5 miles where you will take a right turn then a left turn then another right turn and then will come to the trail head parking. GPS North 29 46’ 46.0” West 91 27’ 43.7”
Franklin Hiking Trail
The Franklin Hiking 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 in one direction. This is our 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 you can view the wading birds, alligators and turtles that live along the Franklin canal as well as cypress tupelo swamp, various animals and insects. You will cross nine different pipelines along the way which gives you a great overlook of the area.
From Hwy. 90,west take the Franklin exit LA 3211 North West Blvd.
At the end of the exit ramp take a left onto North West Blvd and go under the overpass and go to the end of the road and then take a left onto the Frontage road.
About .8 miles down the Frontage road you will see the parking area sign for the Franklin Hiking Trail.