In the winter, the refuge is home to thousands of individual waterfowl and cranes. Some endangered Whooping Cranes even winter here! An observation building that's a short walk from the visitors center has bleacher seating and scopes for viewing. Check out the video below to get a feel for the numbers of waterfowl and cranes that can be seen from the observation building in late December or early January.
Address: 2700 Refuge Headquarters Road, Decatur, Alabama 35603
Cost of admission: Free
Governance: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Approximate miles of trails: 5
Hours: The refuge is open during daylight hours. The visitors center is open 9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily from October thru February and 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Tuesday thru Saturday from March thru September.
Miles from downtown Atlanta: 180
Parking: The main parking lot is at the visitors center
Trailhead(s): More info about the trails is available on the FWS website
Trail surface: Natural and boardwalk
Best time to visit: Waterfowl are at peak numbers in late December and early January. Wildflowers peak in April.
Guidebook mentions: Chapter 46 in Exploring Wild Alabama (1st edition)
- Visitors center
- Orientation video
- Observation building
- Gift shop
Good to combine with:
- Wade Mountain Nature Preserve