Places We Protect

Cypress Island Preserve


A yellow-crowned night heron displays its breeding plumage at Cypress Island Preserve in Louisiana.
Yellow-crowned Night Heron A yellow-crowned night heron displays its breeding plumage at Cypress Island Preserve. © Matt Pardue/The Nature Conservancy

Our preserve and Visitor Center serve as a centerpiece for viewing unique Louisiana wildlife.

Visit Cypress Island

  • The preserve’s unique forested wetlands fosters a spectacular rookery that supports thousands of nesting birds each spring, including White Ibis, Anhinga, Neotropic Cormorants, Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, Great Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. The preserve’s walking levee trail is also an ideal place to observe trans-gulf migratory songbirds. Keep an eye out for a variety of reptiles and amphibians, including the American alligator.

  • We invite visitors to enjoy birdwatching and a 2.5-mile walking levee trail. The trail is suitable for children ages 5 and up but might pose a challenge for strollers due to uneven terrain and muddy conditions after rain. Other ways to enjoy the preserve include hiking, boating and kayaking from a small launch at the northern end of the levee trail

    NOTE: The preserve’s boardwalk is currently in disrepair. TNC is working to replace and improve the .25-mile loop. 

  • Groups can gather at the preserve’s pavilion where there are covered picnic tables and access to restrooms. 

  • The preserve is open during daylight hours.

    Volunteer docents staff the Visitor Center on weekends year-round from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and some weekdays during the busy spring season. We recommend calling to confirm hours before a visit. 

    NOTE: The levee trail and kayak launch are closed during alligator nesting season June through September. Also, the rookery—located at the southern end of Lake Martin—is closed to boat entry during bird breeding and nesting season February through July.

    • Do not stray from marked and established trails.
    • Do not feed alligators and other wildlife.
    • Leashed pets are only allowed on the Levee Trail, and are generally discouraged due to heat, alligators and other pests.
    • Do not collect, remove, injure, damage or destroy any artifact, mineral or animal (living or dead).
    • Hunting, trapping, fishing and discharging firearms is prohibited. (Note: Fishing is allowed in the open water in Lake Martin.)
    • Camping, campfires and smoking are prohibited.
    • Permanent photography blinds are prohibited. Portable blinds are allowed but must be removed upon departure.
    • Do not scatter feed or seed of any kind. Do not use taped calls to attract wildlife.
    • Keep your vehicles and any equipment or valuables secured at all times.
    • Respect the rights of adjacent landowners. Do not trespass, block neighbors’ driveways or use an entrance other than those designed for the preserve.
    • Leave no trace. Do not litter. Take out what you bring in to the preserve.
  • The preserve’s Acadian-style Visitor Center serves as a hub for inspiring the public aboutTNC's  mission and work in this fragile natural area, including an exhibit featuring winners of its annual photography contest.

    The Visitor Center is located at 1264 Prairie Highway, St. Martinville, LA 70582.

    NOTE: Rookery Road is closed starting at John D Hebert Road to Prairie Highway (LA 353) until further notice.

    Contact us at 337-342-2475 to verify hours or to learn more about volunteer opportunities. 

Cypress Island's Hidden Gem (:59) Home to beautiful bald cypress, water tupelo and buttonbush, Coulee Crow Swamp is a peaceful piece of nature nestled within The Nature Conservancy's Cypress Island preserve.

Support This Work

Thanks to your support, our efforts to conserve this cypress-tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwood forest are working. However, we have a long way to go in connecting this unique natural area with the surrounding floodplain to secure clean water, reduce flooding, and welcome wildlife and people.