Hidden gem uncovers a bird lovers paradise in Southwest Louisiana; see photos

Tourism in Southwestern Louisiana took a hit from the 2020 hurricane season.  On a recent trip to the area, a visitor could find one hidden gem along Louisiana Hwy. 27 attracting birds and birdwatchers.

Each year, thousands of snow geese, ducks and other species winter in the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge.

The Pintail Wildlife Drive, just off the highway, is arguably one of the best places to view wildlife in all of Louisiana.

Most refuge operations remain closed in the wake of the storms and visitors would be wise to check the access to this spot before making the journey.

Late afternoon sun lights up the wings of snow geese in flight. (John Snell)


The loop road, a three-mile graveled route, is located two miles south of the refuge visitor center.  It includes interpretive signs along the route, describing wildlife species, marsh and plant ecology.

Snow Geese, white pelicans and ducks take flight in Cameron Prairie NWR

A variety of Louisiana’s residents from the natural world can be seen throughout the year, including alligators when the weather is warmer. Visitors should take the eastern leg of U-shaped Louisiana Hwy. 27 southeast of Lake Charles.


A grackle shows his shiny side in the midday sun (John Snell)


A pied-billed grebe (John Snell)


America coots, often called “pouldeau,” in Louisiana (John Snell)


The colder weather can actually be a positive for those who make the trip, as birds seem to be drawn to the ponds here several miles inland from the coast.


Northern Pintail ducks in Cameron Prairie NWR (John Snell)


Alligators can be seen throughout the year, but less often in colder weather. (John Snell)

Visitors to Cameron Prairie can often be rewarded with a spectacular sunrise or sunset over the marsh.  Hwy. 27 is part of the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road.  Visitors pass through several wetland habitats along the trail with areas to pull off and view wildlife.  However, some of the other sites remained closed during a recent trip to the area.

End of day in Cameron Prairie NWR (John Snell)

RELATED: 7 tranquil nature trails to explore outdoors while social distancing

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