Basic Info about the Refuge
The D'Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana is nearly 20,000 acres.
The D’Arbonne NWR in Louisiana is a beautiful and generally quiet place to hang out and watch wildlife. It’s hard to think of another place you can find a scene as breathtaking as the view of the meadow and water from the observation tower.
On any given day, you can find wading birds, like great egrets, great blue herons, and even little blue herons, songbirds, woodpeckers, frogs, toads, raptors, skunks, armadillos, deer, turtles, black bears, snakes, and vultures.
The NWR has a special place in our hearts as the first place we saw red-headed woodpeckers and the only place we’ve seen red-cockaded woodpeckers.
Because the Bayou D’Arbonne bisects the refuge, it’s almost impossible to visit from all entrances in a single visit. We suggest you try the Saline Creek Wetlands area and Holland’s Bluff Road area on different visits and start with the wetlands area just off Highway 15 near Downsville. Along with the beautiful scenery there, you can see all kinds of wildlife there.
In our visits to the area, we’ve met more birds of prey in the Saline Creek area. We’ve met red-shouldered hawks, red-tailed hawks, or northern harriers on each visit. During the dry season, when we’ve been able to cross the creek on the gravel trail, we’ve met eagles and ospreys.
If you have time, check out the Lake Drain area down the road from the Saline Creek area.
By The Numbers
Learn more about the refuge.
Blanchard's Cricket Frog
Northern Cricket Frog
Immature Little Blue Heron
Red Admiral Butterfly
Red-Banded Hairstreak Butterfly
While we love all our wild friends, the red-headed woodpecker is our favorite D’Arbonne NWR inhabitant. D’Arbonne is the first place we met this friend, and no matter how many other awesome neighbors we met there, it has remained our absolute fav from the refuge.
More about How You Can Enjoy the Refuge
The refuge is open 24-7, all year and is free to the public. More details about what you need to hunt and fish at the refuge legally are in the tab below.
You can find public restrooms at the North Louisiana Refuges Complex Headquarters on Holland’s Bluff Road. Contact the complex to find out when they’re open.
The D’Arbonne NWR is hit or miss regarding trail accessibility for visually impaired users. The level of accessibility depends on how far you want to go and how flooded the refuge is. During the rainy season, most of the refuge is inaccessible by foot to anyone. We advise you to check out the link below for flood advisories.
The gravel trail near the outlook tower at the Saline Creek Wetlands is accessible and easy for someone using a seeing-eye cane. Cane users may find the Lake Drain Area moderately tricky, especially down at the lake drain. Parts of Holland’s Bluff Road are easy to use a cane on, particularly the ATV trails and the area near the bayou at the bluff.
Learn more about the D’Arbonne NWR at the refuge’s official website.
Visit Other Areas
The D'Arbonne NWR is one of many places you can enjoy our local wildlife.
Explore North Louisiana's Outdoors.
Learn about other Kisatchie National Forest ranger districts, national wildlife refuges, state wildlife management areas, and state parks found throughout North Louisiana.