The Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge is a refuge in southwest Louisiana about 25 miles south of the town of Lake Charles, and it contains over 9,600 acres acres of marsh and coastal prairie. The wildlife refuge has been surveyed as having over 200 species of birds and waterfowl that reside at the refuge or pass through on their migratory paths. The refuge receives about 100,000 visitors annually in spite of the fact that most of its area is restricted from public access.
The main areas of public interest are the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex Visitor Center, which is the central visitor center and offices for Cameron Prairie, along with neighboring Sabine, Shell Keys, and Lacassine National Wildlife Refuges. The visitor center has exhibits, displays, a boardwalk to a viewing deck over the marsh, and rangers on hand who can answer questions about the wildlife refuges.
The other main area of interest is the Pintail Nature Drive and Boardwalk Trail. There, a 3-mile loop drive and 0.6-mile boardwalk trail allow visitors to view wildlife like waterfowl and alligators in a wetland marsh environment. Bank Fishing Road, directly opposite Pintail Nature Area, provides an opportunity for fishing along the marsh. And slightly further to the south, a boat allows users to enter a shipping channel that accesses several nearby lakes.
It's recommended that visitors begin their trip at the visitor center to get acquainted with recreational opportunities and learn about the history and wildlife of the area. Visitor center hours are: Monday through Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It is located at 1428 Highway 27, Bell City LA 70630 and can be reached at 337.598.2216.
Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge is a featured area of interest along the Creole Nature Trail.