Open to the Public
The plants and animals at this preserve are a must-see! View All
The Cypress Island Preserve is situated between Breaux Bridge and Lafayette, Louisiana. Check out this map!
Approximately 9,500 acres of important cypress-tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwood forest habitat is protected.
Beginning in late January, thousands of Great Egrets, followed by Little Blue Herons, Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Roseate Spoonbills make their nests and rear their young in the rookery. Great Blue Herons and Neotropic Cormorants may be seen in the distant tree tops. Expect a spectacular rookery view from March through June. The 2.5-mile walking levee trail is open from the fall to the spring and is suitable for children. Because this remarkable natural area is easily accessible and affords visitors with incredible wildlife viewing opportunities, our Cypress Island Preserve receives thousands of visitors a year from all over the world. Please visit our boardwalk and Visitor Center with picnic pavilion where Rookery Road meets LA Hwy 353. The Visitor Center is generally open from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm on weekends year-round and during the week from Wednesday through Sunday during the busy springtime. Please call first for current hours at (337) 342-2475. Please contact us if you are interested in volunteer opportunities at the preserve, including working with a team of docents to staff the Visitor Center.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana's goal is to restore 20,000-acres of natural cypress-tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwood forest, in order to support a diverse array of indigenous species of plants and wildlife. We offer a community gathering place and education about the natural wonders of Louisiana in the Visitor Center.
- Dogs and other pets are not permitted off of levee trail. Because of the heat, alligators, and other natural pests, it is not recommended to bring pets with you while you visit.
- Do not collect, remove, injure, damage, or destroy any artifact or mineral or any animal living or dead.
- No hunting, trapping, fishing, or discharge of firearms is allowed in the preserve. Fishing is allowed in the open water in Lake Martin.
- No camping is allowed.
- Absolutely no fires are allowed, and smoking is not permitted in the preserve.
- Do not litter.
- No permanent photography blinds may be constructed. Portable blinds are allowed, but we ask that you remove them when you leave.
- Do not scatter feed or seed of any kind. Do not use taped calls to attract wildlife.
- Keep your vehicle locked at all times, and do not leave equipment or valuables in your vehicle. Do not leave equipment unattended anywhere on the preserve.
- Leave the preserve before darkness falls.
- Please respect the rights of adjacent landowners. Do not trespass. Do not block neighbor's driveways. Please do not use any entrance other than the ones designed for the preserve.
The Visitor Center is staffed by volunteer Docents weekend days from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm all year round and from Wednesday through Sunday during the busy springtime. We are often open during the week, but please call before your visit to make sure. The preserve is open during daylight hours. The walking trail starting along the levee is closed during alligator nesting season, June through October. The rookery area in the southern end of Lake Martin is closed to all boat entry from February 1 through July 31 for breeding bird season. You may drive along Rookery Road all year round.
What to See: Plants
This cypress-tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwood forest habitat is a relic of the mysterious swamps of the past, with old-growth live oaks and cypress covered with Spanish moss.
What to See: Animals
The preserve is home to a spectacular wading bird rookery that supports thousands of nesting birds each spring. Nesting White Ibis, Anhinga, Cormorant, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Great Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Tri-color Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, and Great Blue Heron may be observed. The walking levee trail on the preserve is also a superb place to observe trans-gulf migratory songbirds. As you visit the preserve, keep an eye out for the many reptiles and amphibians that call this area home, including all sizes of American alligators.
Cypress Island Preserve is located approximately halfway between the town of Breaux Bridge and the city of Lafayette. Lake Martin, the preserve's main visitor attraction, is approached by two paved roads, Highway 353 from Lafayette and Highway 31 from Breaux Bridge. Parking is available at the Visitor Center, located at 1264 Prairie Hwy where Rookery Road meets Prairie Hwy (LA 353). A small parking area is also located at the southwest end of Lake Martin, where the walking levee trail may be accessed through the adjacent gate. Another parking area is located at the northern end of the lake from Rookery Road, where the north end of the walking levee trail may be accessed through the adjacent gate.