White River National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

White River National Wildlife Refuge

Arkansas

(870) 282-8200

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

White River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 for the protection of migratory birds. The refuge lies in the floodplain of the White River near where it meets the mighty Mississippi River. White River NWR is one of the largest remaining bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi River Valley.

Approximately two-thirds of the bird species found in Arkansas can be seen at White River NWR. Many of these are neotropical migratory songbirds that use the refuge as a stopping point on their journey to and from Central and South America. Arriving in early autumn and usually peaking in late December, mallards along with gadwall, American widgeon, and greenwing teal find their way along that highway in the sky- the Mississippi Flyway. During some years, up to 350,000 birds will winter in these flooded bottomland hardwood forests.

A large visitor center, completed in 2003, houses an auditorium, environmental education classroom, an exhibit hall, and the Friends of White River Bookstore. Interpretive exhibits and displays educate visitors about the human and ecological histories of the area.

Map of White River NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 34.290127, -91.213989

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Activities

  • Boating

    Boats, other than flat-bottomed johnboats 16 feet or less in length, may not be left overnight on the refuge during the period from November 1 through February 28.Boats, ATV's, and portable tree stands left unattended on the refuge must have the owner's name and address affixed in a conspicuous manner.

    Personal watercraft (jet-ski, sea-do, wet bike) are prohibited on the refuge.

  • Camping

    Numerous campgrounds are located throughout the refuge. Camping is permitted year round on the North Unit, while most campgrounds in the South Unit are open seasonally.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted year-round in many of the refuge's lakes and ditches. Some parts of the refuge are open seasonally, to check with the refuge for detailed information.

  • Hiking

    White River has hundreds of miles of trails open to foot traffic. The Cypress Tree Trail, 1.2 miles each way, is an easy trail through a swamp to views of the largest cypress tree in Arkansas.

  • Historic Sites

    A large visitor center, completed in 2003, houses an auditorium, environmental education classroom, an exhibit hall, and the Friends of White River Bookstore. Interpretive exhibits and displays educate visitors about the human and ecological histories of the area.

    Don't forget to also check out the pitted 10-foot Civil War cannon displayed at this migratory bird refuge. This cannon fired shells in the July 17, 1862 battle of St. Charles. A museum and Civil War monument in the small river town commemorate the battle. The battle site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The cannon at White River Refuge was recovered from the White River by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

  • Hunting

    Hunting for a variety of game is allowed in the refuge. Check with the refuge office for more information on seasons and regulations.

Seasonality/Weather

Check with the refuge for seasonal closings.

Park Partners

The Friends of White River

The Friends of White River Bookstore carries a variety of nature books, gifts, and educational items in addition to standard amenities like insect repellent. Funds generated from bookstore profits are used to benefit the refuge by providing funds to enhance special events like the Youth Fishing Rodeo and Annual White River Wildlife Festival as well as many other refuge projects.

Directions

Driving

The White River National Wildlife Refuge Office/Visitor Center is located in St. Charles, Arkansas about 15 miles east of DeWitt.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(870) 282-8200

Links