Creole Nature Trail All-American Road

Details

  • DesignationAll-American Road (1996/2002)
  • Intrinsic QualitiesCultural, Natural
  • LocationLA
  • Length180 miles
Byway Visitor Information
Visit Lake Charles
Statewide Byway Partners
Louisiana Byways Map - Download
Louisiana Travel - LA Scenic Byway Program
Creole Nature Trail All-American Road
Creole Nature Trail All-America Road Photo

Overview

Alligators, over 400 bird species, marshlands teeming with life, 26 miles of natural Gulf of Mexico beaches, fishing, crabbing, Cajun culture, and more can be experienced as you travel along the 180-mile Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. One of only 57 so designated scenic byways in the USA, and affectionately known as Louisiana’s Outback, the Creole Nature Trail is a journey into one of America’s “Last Great Wildernesses.”

Local Byway Partners

Story of the Byway

Beyond the interstate…beyond the excitement of Louisiana's cities…Here lies a world of natural beauty and abundance whose people preserve the very heart of Louisiana's cultures. This is a land that beckons to everyone, young and old, with a sense of adventure. This is Louisiana's Outback. A place where prairie melts into the marsh, where the Gulf of Mexico laps against sandy beaches, where rare cheniers are shaped by salty winds. Here, birds and butterflies flock in the millions – as they have for thousands of years. In this world, Louisiana's Cajun and Creole cultures took root and grew in harmony with abundant life – a life you can share on the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road.

As you drive the Creole Nature Trail, the prairies and marshes of Louisiana's Outback may appear peaceful and tranquil, but don't be fooled. These lands and waters—both salt and fresh—are teeming with life and activity. There are 28 species of mammals, more than 400 species of birds, 35 amphibians and reptiles, 132 species of fish, and thousands of migrating butterflies in the spring and fall.

The Creole Nature Trail is also home to people whose lives are linked closely to this place that is part land, part water. As distinct as the land that they love, they depend on its bounty—and celebrate with a joie de vivre, or joy of life, that is like none other.

The 180-mile Creole Nature Trail is a driving tour on one of America's "Last Great Wildernesses," and you have the chance to experience world-famous wildlife habitats and estuaries. See alligators and Louisiana's "pink flamingo," the roseate spoonbill. Fish, hunt, or crab along the way. The Creole Nature Trail is a journey through wild and rugged terrain unique to Louisiana, American, and the world… Louisiana's Outback.

Driving the entire trail takes eight to ten hours allowing for stops at wildlife refuges, sandy beaches, picnic sites, and mingling with the friendly Cajun locals. Download the free personal tour app (available in multiple languages - search "creole" in your app store.) Once on the trail, open the app and make sure your location is enabled. It's like having a personal tour guide in the vehicle with you!

Driving Directions

The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road can be accessed via the western gateway in Sulphur, Louisiana (I-10, exit 20) via LA 27 south or via the eastern gateway in Lake Charles (I-10, exit 36) via LA 397 to LA 14 south to LA 27 south.

Points of Interest

  • Blue Goose Trail on Sabine National Wildlife Refuge

    Wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, diamond backed terrapins, and many other brackish/saline marsh and shoreline species may be seen along the trail. The trail is open year-round from dawn until dusk.

  • Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point

    Kick off your Creole Nature Trail journey at Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point—a free, fun attraction that immerses you in nature and Louisiana’s unique culture. Through imaginative, hands-on displays sure to inspire, you can learn the best places to spot alligators and migrating songbirds, take a peek at wildlife found in bayous and marshes, smell mouthwatering aromas of Cajun/Creole cooking, and “play along” with a Cajun and Zydeco band. The Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point brings to life many of the intrinsic qualities that make this area a unique destination. People who experience the exhibit displays will walk away with a vivid understanding of the wildlife and landscape along the Creole Nature Trail as well as our culture and way of life in Southwest Louisiana.

  • Peveto Woods Bird & Butterfly Sanctuary

    Peveto Woods Sanctuary Louisiana lies in the center of the flight path of migratory birds crossing the Gulf of Mexico. An enormous number of migratory songbirds pass over the Cameron Parish coast each spring and fall. In their studies of bird migration, ornithologists George Lowery and Robert Newman found that in the spring when the wind is from the south and the weather is clear, most migrants pass over the coastal areas to land miles inland. However, when the wind is from the north, the birds tire and barely make it to the first land they sight. This makes the Louisiana coastal woodlands critical to the survival of tiny songbirds in need of rest, food and cover. As many as two million birds use our sanctuary each year.

  • Wetland Walkway on Sabine National Wildlife Refuge

    Located in Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, the Wetland Walkway is a 1.5 mile handicap accessible walk over impounded freshwater marsh. The site includes boardwalks, trails, observation decks, signs and interpretive materials. This is an excellent site for nature photography. This is a great place spot gators and birds of all sorts.

  • Lacassine Wildlife Drive on Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge

    The 16,000-acre freshwater impoundment known as Lacassine Pool, created to provide migratory waterfowl habitat, has become a prime largemouth bass fishing area. Lacassine Pool, located at the southern end of Illinois Plant Road (N 30.00555 W 92.91091,) is open for fishing from March 15 through October 15. Only boats with motors of 40 horsepower or less may be used in Lacassine Pool. Lacassine Pool Wildlife Drive is a three-mile driving tour around the perimeter of the impoundment. Common nesting birds frolic through great rafts of blooming pickerelweed, American lotus, white water lily, and duck potato. Common nesting species include Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, King Rail, Purple Gallinule, Common Moorhen, and Common Yellowthroat. Frequent summer visitors include nearby nesting species such as White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Black-necked Stilt, Mourning Dove, and Fish Crow.

  • Holly Beach

    Holly Beach is nicknamed "The Cajun Riviera." This rustic beach is perfect for fishing, shelling, and bird watching.

  • Pintail Wildlife Drive on Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge

    Located on Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, this three mile drive loops through moist soil wetlands which have been manipulated by the US Fish & Wildlife Service to provide a feeding/resting habitat for wintering waterfowl. You are able to view a variety of wildlife such as alligators & birds year round. During the winter months, you will be amazed by the variety and quantity of waterfowl included geese, mallards, roseate spoonbill and great blue heron. The southern side of loop usually boasts many alligator sightings, assuming the weather is good.

  • Price Lake Road on Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge

    Price Lake Road is not only an excellent place to crab or fish, but it is also a hotspot for birding. Price Lake Road is a three mile long, shell/limestone road where visitors can have spectacular views of wading birds, waterfowl, shorebirds, and other avian species from the road, from the observation tower or at the fishing pier. Price Lake Road is open for public access from March 1 – December 1 between sunrise and sunset.

  • Rutherford Beach

    Located on Gulf of Mexico in Cameron Parish. One of several beaches along the coast. Experience the roar of the crashing of the Gulf of Mexico waves and the pleasure of shell collecting on this rustic beach.

  • Sabine Pass Lighthouse

    The Sabine Pass Lighthouse was lit in 1856 and has endured many hurricanes and a Civil War Battle. The structure was abandoned in 1952 and has since fallen in disrepair. Ownership was transferred to the The Cameron Preservation Alliance in 2001 and the alliance is seeking to repair the structure.

Itinerary

  • Loop to the Gulf of Mexico

    Start at Sulphur, LA at Interstate 10, exit 20, and take LA 27 to the south. Stop in Sulphur at the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point, which will immerse you into the culture and the history of the area. This byway offers many trails, so wear comfy shoes! South and west of Hackberry, find the Blue Goose Trail in Sabine National Wildlife Refuge. Further south is the Wetlands Walkway and at the Gulf of Mexico, find Holly Beach (the Cajun Riviera). Fish, collect shells or birdwatch here.

    At Holly Beach, take a side trip heading west on Highway 82 and stop at the Peveto Woods Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary. Further west in the very SW corner of Louisiana, stop at the Sabine Pass Lighthouse, near the Gulf of Mexico. If not taking the side trip, continue on Highway 27 to the east and find Rutherford Beach near the Gulf. Another side trip is to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge east on Highway 82. Otherwise, continue on Highway 27 that now turns northward. Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge is on the right. To the east of that refuge is the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge, another great place fish and birdwatch.

    Highway 27 will take you into Lake Charles where you will find many lodging choices and restaurants.

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