• Image of swamp, bayou, and marsh

    Jean Lafitte

    National Historical Park and Preserve Louisiana

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  • Columbus Day Closures

    All park sites closed Monday, October 13, for Columbus Day. Follow the link for information about park hours and days and about access to the Barataria Preserve and Chalmette Battlefield/Chalmette National Cemetery on holidays. More »

Frequently Asked Questions - Barataria Preserve

A boardwalk trail and deck stretch out into the green trees of the Barataria Preserve over high water in the swamp.

High water along the Bayou Coquille Trail.

NPS Photo

Where can I see an alligator? Alligators are usually visible from the trails at the Barataria Preserve.

May I feed the alligators? No. Alligators are wild animals, very fast, and always hungry. Never feed wild animals in any national park. Feeding wild animals is dangerous to you and to the animal, who will lose its protective fear of humans.

If there are alligators and snakes in the Barataria Preserve, is it dangerous to walk the trails or go canoeing? Not if you stay alert and use common sense. When you walk the trails, watch for reptiles like snakes who might be sunning themselves on the trail. When you canoe, watch for alligators swimming or floating in the waterways. Be respectful of any wild animals and give them plenty of room. If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone.

Where can I find out about birds, plants, and animals at the preserve? Follow this link to the Nature and Science pages.

May I take food on the trails? No. Food and disposable drink containers (other than bottled water) are not allowed on the trails. Picnic areas are available in the park (see trail map).

May I take my pet to the Barataria Preserve? Pets are only allowed in parking lots and on the visitor center deck, and then only if they are on a leash and with a human. Pets are not allowed on trails, in buildings, or at programs. Pets may not be left unattended in a parked vehicle. Service animals are of course the exception and are welcome anywhere, but think twice before taking a service animal on the trails---alligators see all animals as potential food.

Do I need a license to fish in the Barataria Preserve? Yes---see the fishing regulations.

Can I go hunting in the Barataria Preserve? Yes. Links to hunting regulations, season dates, and other important information are added to the park's home page every year in late summer. Hunting seasons are during the fall and winter.

Does the preserve rent canoes? No. Call the preserve visitor center 504-689-3690 ext. 10 to find out about local canoe rental companies. Click here to read about canoeing at the preserve.

Are there lots of mosquitoes? Often. Mosquitoes are active most of the year. Bring bug repellent or purchase it at the visitor center.

Did hurricanes Katrina and Rita affect the preserve? Yes. Click here to read about what happened during the storms and how the preserve has recovered.

Did You Know?

Young alligator crawls through vegetation.

Alligators have two eyelids! The second inner eyelid is clear and used like goggles while the alligator is under water. These amazing reptiles have been around since before the dinosaurs, and they are designed for life in the water.