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Comite Trail

Largest Tree East of Sierra Nevadas in Cat Island Refuge

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The Cat Island Refuge nature preserve is known for its undisturbed setting, neo-tropical migratory birds and the largest tree of any species east of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Located 30 minutes north of Baton Rouge the 9,600-acre preserve is comprised of bottomland forest and cypress-tupelo swampland and features numerous cypress trees that are more than 100 years old. The National Champion Bald Cypress tree, located 4.5 miles from the park entrance, is estimated to be 1,500 years old and is 96 feet high and 17 feet in diameter.

Visitors enjoy a variety of outdoor activities at Cat Island, including:

  • Birding during the fall and spring migrations
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Fishing year-round
  • Hiking
  • Nature photography
  • Wildlife viewing

Cat Island features two scenic hiking trails for Baton Rouge-area residents to explore. The Blackfork Trail is a 2.5 mile loop that follows Blackfork Bayou and provides excellent views of water fowl, songbirds and other wildlife. The Big Cypress Trail is a .75-mile trail that includes a boardwalk overlooking the National Champion Bald Cypress.

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service