Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

Texas

(361) 286-3559

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The chorus of thousands of waterfowl, the splash of an alligator going for a swim, the rustle of wind moving through coastal prairie, the high-pitched call of a fulvous whistling duck are just some of the sound you may hear when visiting Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. This 34,000-acre haven for wildlife is located on the upper Texas gulf coast. The meandering bayous of Anahuac NWR cut through ancient floodplains creating expanses of coastal marsh and prairie bordering Galveston Bay. Prevailing breezes bring in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in high humidity and an average annual rainfall of over 51 inches. Coastal marshes act as a huge sponge, holding and siphoning water from tropical storm tides and upstream flooding. These marshes, combined with the coastal prairie, provide a home for an abundance of wildlife, from migratory birds to alligators.

Public use areas are open from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. Access to East Bay and the two refuge boat ramps is provided 24 hours a day on designated roads. The administrative office in the town of Anahuac is open from 7:30am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.

The Visitor Information Station, located at the main entrance of the refuge, includes a nature store, interpretive exhibits and an information desk which is staffed by refuge volunteers.

Restrooms are available at the main entrance across from the Visitor Information Station, and at the southern end of the Skillern Tract.

The wonderful thing about Anahuac NWR is that it is remote. Visitors should come prepared as there is no drinking water available on the refuge, the closest gas station is more than 20 miles away and mosquitoes are always close by!

Map of Anahuac NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 29.604506, -94.541473

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Activities

  • Bird Watching

    Moist Soil Units: In the spring and summer, the units are flooded for pair and brood habitat for nesting mottled ducks and fulvous whistling ducks, as well as to provide habitat for migrating shorebirds. Roseate spoonbills, egrets, ibis and herons are just some of the wading birds that will make use of the wetland year-round. Visitors can easily enjoy views of the units from adjacent roads and a newly constructed overlook.

    The Willows: Internationally known, the Willows is a must for those looking for warblers, tanagers and vireos in the midst of spring migration.

  • Fishing

    Some of the best wade fishing in Texas can be found on the refuge shorelines along East Galveston Bay. Whether you are wading or launching a boat, anglers looking for speckled trout, redfish and southern flounder can enjoy access 24 hours a day on the refuge. Two boat ramps provide access to East Bay and Oyster Bayou. Unless otherwise noted, boating is not permitted on inland waters of the refuge except for the boat canal at the Oyster Bayou Boat Ramp. Three fishing piers along the banks of East Bay Bayou and a wooden bridge offer anglers without a boat an opportunity to catch freshwater species like crappie, large mouth bass, gar, bowfin, channel and blue catfish. Small, non-motorized boats may be launched along East Bay Bayou at the canoe launch.

  • Hiking

    Enjoy a hike through the scenic refuge.

  • Hunting

    Some of the best waterfowl hunting opportunities in Southeast Texas are available seasonally on Anahuac NWR. Blue and green-winged teal, mottled duck, gadwall, pintail and shoveler are a few of the species hunted among the different hunt units.

    Normally, forty percent of the refuge is open to waterfowl hunting. Three different hunt units provide access to hunt areas by foot or by boat. An accessible hunt blind is also available on a first-come, first-served basis for hunters with a disability.

    Large portions of the Refuge are open to hunters free of charge. No user fee is required for hunters under 16 years of age. This permit is available the morning of the hunt and is required before entry of the East Unit Hunt Area.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Shoveler Pond: Wildlife enthusiasts in search of purple gallinule, marsh wren, American bittern, waterfowl and a lot of alligators will most definitely enjoy the two and a half mile Shoveler Pond auto tour. While on the loop, check out the 750' boardwalk or the wildlife friendly overlook made of recycled plastic. The boardwalk offers visitors an opportunity to be immersed in the cane; get a water-level view of life in the marsh; and stroll among a multitude of wetland wildlife -- all on the new accessible boardwalk!

    Skillern Tract: The wooded banks of East Bay Bayou are great spots to enjoy hummingbirds, warblers and so much more. Access to this trail is also available at the south parking area, where you can also launch a canoe or kayak for excellent wildlife viewing from the water.

Directions

Driving

Refuge headquarters are located in the town of Anahuac, Texas, on the corner of Trinity Street and Washington Avenue near the County Courthouse.

From Houston: Take I 10 East to Exit #812 (TX 61 or Anahuac/Hankamer exit). Head south on TX 61 for approximately four miles to stop sign. Continue straight through stop sign, the road becomes Hwy 562. Continue on Hwy 562 for approximately eight and a half miles to the fork in the road. At the fork turn left onto FM 1985 and continue straight for an additional four miles to the main refuge entrance. There is a refuge entrance sign on the right, turn right on the easement road for another three miles.

From Beaumont: Take I 10 West to Exit #829 (Hwy73/124 or Winnie/Galveston exit). Head south on Hwy 124 for approximately eleven miles to FM 1985. Turn right onto FM 1985 and head west for approximately eleven miles to the main entrance of the refuge. There is a refuge entrance sign on the left, turn left on the easement road for another three miles.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(361) 286-3559

Links