Cat Island Bald Cypress – St Francisville, Louisiana - Atlas Obscura

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Cat Island Bald Cypress

St Francisville, Louisiana

Located in a remote part of a Louisiana wildlife refuge, this tree has been standing for more than 1,200 years. 


A survivor of the cypress logging after the Civil War, this bald cypress is the sixth-largest tree in the U.S. and the largest tree east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It boasts a height of around 83 feet and a circumference of over 57 feet. Located in the back of the remote Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, across the aptly named “low water bridge,” due to how close it frequently is to the rushing creek, this tree is one of a few in the area that are impressively large.

The tree is believed to be 1,200 to 1,500 years old, meaning it began growing around the same time as the death of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor of Europe.

Cat Island is not actually an island at all, but the surrounding area is so often flooded that it would be easy to mistake it for one. The refuge is bounded by the Mississippi River and Bayou Sara, and it tends to be flooded from December through June. During those times, the area where the bald cypress stands is only reachable by boat.

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