Bayou Teche | Lower Atchafalaya

The Bayou Teche/Lower Atchafalaya Paddling Trail begins at the Calumet Cut and takes you through Patterson to the mouth of the Bayou Teche at the Atchafalaya River. The name calumet is a French word meaning “pipe.” Calumet is the site of the Civil War Battle of Bisland, where the gunboat Cotton was sunk in the Bayou Teche. When paddling along the Bayou Teche from Calumet to the Atchafalaya River, you will see homes along the right side of the river and mostly natural vegetation along the left side.

The town of Patterson, named after Captain John Patterson in 1907, was once home to the largest cypress sawmill in the world, owned by Frank B. Williams.  His two sons, Kemper and Harry, were prominent citizens and left an outstanding mark on the community.  Kemper Williams, an extraordinary philanthropist, left behind a foundation for the support of the Kemper Williams Park and Campground in Patterson. Harry Williams, on the other hand, was a wealthy playboy with a love for speed.  He and Jimmie Wedell, a daredevil with innovative ideas, developed the Wedell-Williams Air Service.  Today, the Louisiana State Museum (Wedell Williams Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Museum), which is located in Kemper Williams Park, displays numerous aircraft, 1930s air race trophies and memorabilia. 

The Atchafalaya Golf Course at Idlewild is the newest addition to Kemper Williams Park and Campground.  This Audubon Trail selected 18-hole golf course, designed by internationally renowned Robert Von Hagge, Smelek & Baril, reflects the natural beauty of the Atchafalaya Basin.  The grounds feature over 40 native Louisiana flora and fauna and a picturesque view from the elevated, plantation style clubhouse.

You are welcome to stop at the City of Patterson’s paddling dock or Captain Caviar’s Swamp Tour dock located along the Bayou Teche in Patterson, for a picnic lunch.  Camping is available at the Two Sisters Boat Launch in Bayou Vista.

Points of Interest

  • Calumet Plantation Home (Private)
  • Idlewild Plantation Home (Private)
  • Atchafalaya Golf Course at Idlewild, 400 Cotten Road, Patterson, 985-395-4653
  • Louisiana State Museum – Patterson, 118 Cotten Road, Patterson, 985-399-1268
  • Patterson Airport, 3884 Airport Road, Patterson, 985-395-4501
  • Captain Caviar Swamp Tour, 112 Main Street, Patterson, 985-395-7420
  • Kemper Williams Park & Campground, Cotten Road off Hwy 90, Patterson, 985-395-2298
Bayou Teche / Lower Atchafalaya Paddling Trail

Nearby Cities:

Patterson, Bayou Vista, Berwick and Morgan City


  • Jesse B. Hayes Landing to Calumet Locks: 3.9 miles
  • Jesse B. Hayes Landing to Two Sisters Landing: 6.3 miles
  • Jesse B. Hayes Landing to Berwick Locks: 9.6 miles

Type of Trail:

Linear route: shuttle service may be necessary



Skill Level:


Approx Paddling Time:

7 hours

Usual Current:

One mph from north to south (Calument to Berwick)


Bayou Teche and Lower Atchafalaya are very wide and wind can be a problem, but the water is usually calm. Invassive grasses may clog waterway. Be aware of hunting season. May through September can be very hot! Bring sunscreen, plenty of water and bug spray.


  • Jesse B. Hayes, Jr. Memorial Boat Launch (Hwy. 182, Patterson) – Located on Hayes Lane off Hwy. 182, Patterson. From Hwy. 90, turn onto Red Cypress Road in Patterson. Turn left onto Hwy. 182 W. Travel 1.5 miles. The landing will be on your right.
    GPS: N29 43' 33.0" W-91 18' 43.8"
  • Two Sisters Boat Launch (Hwy. 182, Bayou Vista) – From Hwy. 182, turn onto Two Sisters Court, located in the 2700 block of Hwy. 182 in Bayou Vista.
    GPS: N29 42' 26.2" W-91 15' 56.0"