Barataria Preserve

Three turtles on a log enjoy the sunshine
As you stroll the Barataria Preserve trails, look for snakes, turtles, and alligators swimming through waterways or sunning themselves on logs and bayou banks.


Giant blue irises are now in bloom at the Barataria Preserve. The first iris was spotted off the visitor center deck on March 10. Irises will probably continue blooming for two-three weeks. Follow the link to learn more about the preserve's favorite flower.

Wetlands Walk - 10:00 a.m.. every Wednesday through Sunday. Join a ranger for a guided walk on a boardwalk trail through wild Louisiana swamp and marsh. Stop by the visitor center to find out which trail the day's walk will explore. No walk on federal holidays when the visitor center is closed. No walk Friday-Sunday, April 14-16, during Spring in the Swamp event; follow the link below to learn about the 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. walks on those days. Free.

Starry Night Astronomy Program - 7:00-9:00 p.m Friday, March 31 (note the time and date change from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, March 24). Join the preserve rangers and the Pontchartrain Astronomy Society for an evening of night hikes and star gazing. The society will give a brief presentation on the night skies of south Louisiana and demonstrate how to use telescopes, then rangers will lead a star-gazing walk on the Visitor Center Trail. The society will provide telescopes, but you may bring your own equipment. Follow the link for a Starry Night flier to download, print, and share. No reservations are required, but please call the preserve visitor center at 504-689-3690 ext. 10 if you'll be bringing a group larger than 10 people. Free.

Bloomin' in the Bayou Spring Wildflower Walk - 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday April 1. Learn some basic botany and find out what's blooming in the preserve wetlands on a guided walk for novice plant enthusiasts and expert botany geeks alike. Free but space limited so reservations required; call 504-689-3690 ext. 10 to reserve your spot.

Spring in the Swamp - 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Friday-Sunday, April 14-16. Wildflowers, alligators, migratory birds, and activities for nature-lovers of all ages as the Barataria Preserve celebrates spring in Louisiana's wetlands. Follow the link to learn more; here's a pdf flier of Spring in the Swamp activities to download, print, and share. Free.

Important information:

  • The Plantation Trail and the final few hundred feet of the Ring Levee Trail are closed for repairs. Follow the link for the preserve trail map and information about trails.
  • Never approach, harass, or feed alligators. Remember that they are wild animals and can move very quickly. You can find more information about safety and outdoor activities at the preserve at the safety page.
  • Although canoeing and kayaking have been favorite Barataria Preserve activities in the past, most waterways are currently impassable due to several years of heavy growth by aquatic vegetation. The National Park Service is working to secure funding for longterm waterways management. At this time, do not plan to canoe or kayak in the preserve; information will be posted here if the situation changes.
  • Pets are only allowed in parking areas and on the deck at the visitor center; pets in these areas must be on a leash and a human must be on the other end of the leash. Do not leave pets unattended in vehicles; pets in vehicles must have a human in the vehicle with them. Please clean up after your pet. Although service animals assisting people with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments are welcome everywhere, note that the presence of wildlife may mean that service animals may not be comfortable on preserve trails.


The Barataria Preserve outside Marrero offers a taste of Louisiana's wild wetlands. The preserve's 23,000 acres include bayous, swamps, marshes, forests, alligators, nutrias, and over 200 species of birds (learn more about preserve wildlife). Boardwalk and dirt trails wind through the preserve; check out the trail map, enjoy a self-guided tour, or explore with a cell phone tour. Exhibits at the preserve visitor center highlight how the Mississippi River built Louisiana's wetlands, the national importance of the area, and the relation between the land and its people. Kids can earn a badge with the Junior Ranger program. An environmental education center is used for field trips and special programs. The center's museum store has books, music, children's books, insect repellent, field guides, and more on sale. Admission to the preserve is free. Follow these links for the park's calendar of events, exhibits, and programs; for directions and transportation options; and for accessibility information.

6588 Barataria Boulevard, Marrero (near Crown Point) (If you use a GPS system, doublecheck it with the map since not all systems find the preserve successfully)
504-689-3690 ext. 10
Visitor center is open Wednesday-Sunday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; closed on federal holidays and Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 28, in 2017). Parking lots are open for access to trails daily including federal holidays 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. except on Mardi Gras, when the preserve is completely closed. Links to useful information like maps, public transportation, pets, permits for special uses, etc., are available on the basic information page; there's also information about the preserve at the Barataria Preserve Frequently Asked Questions page.

Special programs by reservation:

Learn about

  • plants and animals in south Louisiana---remember that you can report all bird and animal sightings at the preserve visitor center to help with research and management. You can also use the eBird kiosk in the visitor center to find out what birds have been sighted where and to report your own sightings or to plan your visit to the preserve.
  • education offerings, including field trips, free downloadable curriculum materials, and more.
  • in May 2013, Jean Lafitte teamed up with National Geographic for BioBlitz 2013 at the Barataria Preserve, a 24-hour blitz of scientific discovery that attempted to inventory as many of the preserve's plants and animals as possible. The BioBlitz page also has links to National Geographic science and nature webpages.
  • the Active Trails program and how you can participate.
  • research at the Barataria Preserve.
  • more things to do in Jefferson Parish, where the preserve is located.
  • the town of Jean Lafitte, right down the road from the preserve.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

419 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70130


(504) 589-3882
Phone numbers are for park headquarters. Phones are answered 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Park headquarters is closed on federal holidays and on Mardi Gras.

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