Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge

Tensas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1980 to preserve one of the largest privately owned tracts of bottomland hardwoods remaining in the Louisiana Delta.  This 80,000 acre refuge provides forest and wetland habitats for a diversity of fish and wildlife. 

The state's largest population of the federally-threatened Louisiana black bear can be found on Tensas NWR.  The last sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker, which is believed to be extinct by most scientists, occurred in the 1940's adjacent to what is now Tensas NWR. 

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Latitude: 32.376928 Longitude: -91.402402
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Amber Breland

Recreational Opportunities

Thousands of people visit Tensas NWR each year to take advantage of outdoor recreation opportunities such as hunting, wildlife photography and observation, and environmental education.  The following are some of the most popular activities:

Hunting is an important management tool that is deeply rooted in America's heritage. For more information on hunting at Tensas NWR, please read our current Public Use Regulations Brochure.

Fishing is another popular American pasttime that can be enjoyed on Tensas NWR. The refuge offers a variety of fishing experiences, including public boat ramps at Africa and Indian Lakes and the Tensas Rivere at the Ben Lilly Bridge. For more information check out the current Public Use Regulations Brochure.

Wildlife viewing and photography opportunities abound at Tensas NWR.  Take a walk on the Hollow Cypress boardwalk to the observation tower overlooking our cooperative farming units.  Or visit the Rainey Lake trail to see what the Rainey Brake Obseratory and Rainey Lake piers have to offer.  And don't forget to go for a drive on the Wildlife Drive, a 4.5 mile driving loop where you have good chances of seeing songbirds, white-tailed deer, Louisiana black bears, and much, much more!

Be sure to print off our bird species check-list to take with you on your hike!

Don't forget to stop by our newly remodeled visitor center during office hours to learn about the importance of bottomland hardwood forests and the different kinds of wildlife found on the refuge. 

Paddling opportunities are being improved with newly dedicated paddling trails throughout the refuge. Paddling trails include routes from Fool River to Ben Lilly Bridge and on the Tensas River from Tendal to the Visitor Center and Africa Lake and Indian Lake. 

Seasons Accessible

  • The refuge is open daily during daylight hours.  The visitor center is open Monday - Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm with the exception of all federal holidays. 
  • Temperatures can be extreme in the summer time, so be sure to bring plenty of drinking water, insect repellent, appropriate footwear, and sunscreen. Wildlife is most active in the early morning and late afternoon.  These are the best times to visit, especially during the hot summer months.


A FREE copy of the refuge's regulations brochure (available at refuge entry points) must be read, signed, and on your person while using the refuge. Additional fee permits are available for hunting and ATV use.

Accessibility Notes

CAUTION: Using a GPS navigation system will usually NOT bring you to the Visitor Center. Please follow driving directions below!!!

Directions from I-20 Eastbound: Exit at Waverly (exit 157). Turn left onto Hwy 577 North. After approximately 1½ -2 miles, turn right onto Hwy 80 East. After approximately 8 miles, turn right onto Quebec Road. Follow Quebec Road for approximately 11 miles and the visitor center and headquarters are on the left.

Directions from I-20 Westbound: Exit at Tallulah (exit 171). Turn right onto Hwy 65 North and drive approximately 2 miles into Tallulah. Turn left between the courthouse and Popeyes onto Hwy 80 West. After approximately 7 miles, turn left onto Quebec Road. Follow Quebec Road for approximately 11 miles and the visitor center and headquarters are on the left.

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