Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge offers several opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts including paddling, hiking, hunting, birding and fishing. Fish are plentiful in Tensas River as well as the lakes and bayous that are part of the refuge. The refuge was established in 1980 in the Tenses River Basin in northeastern Louisiana. The forests of Tensas River cover a vast area and are composed of hardwood forests, swamps, and a few lakes.

There are many areas of Tensas National Wildlife Refuge worth exploring, but one area you should take the time to visit are the points of interest that surround the the visitor center. You can start out by taking a stroll down the Hollow Cypress Boardwalk to the Observation Tower. The boardwalk is found directly behind the visitor center and offers glimpses at the local wildlife. For even more chances at wildlife viewing, take a drive along the scenic 4.5-mile long Greenlea Bend Wildlife Drive. The drive will take you through some cooperative farming units, moist-soiled units, and reforested areas. 

After taking a drive on the Greenlea Bend you’ll reach a sign for Rainey Lake Trail. Follow the sign and park where the road ends in a cul-de-sac. Keep your eyes open for raccoons and armadillos. Once you come across the beautiful Rainey Lake you may feel like you’ve stumbled onto a secret that’s best shared between close friends, but it is in fact there for everyone to enjoy! Guests are welcome to fish from the pier. 

There are a few options for those who are interested in getting out on the water there are a few options, and the Fool River Boat Ramp to Ben Lilly Boat Ramp Paddling Trail is a highlight. No longer a river but an isolated lake, Fool River was once a channel of Tensas River. The paddle trail is 15.2 miles long and a great way to view wildlife in the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Lots of wildlife. Beautiful lakes.




ADA accessible
Family friendly
Potable water
Picnic tables
Near lake or river
Bird watching
Big Game Watching


Nearby Adventures


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