Established in 1964, Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 21,574 acres in central Florida along the St. Johns River (Florida's longest river) near DeLeon Springs. The Refuge has:
- 11,100 acres of freshwater marsh
- 7,200 acres of hardwood swamps
- 2,400 acres of uplands
- More than 1,000 acres of lakes, streams, and canals
The Refuge's geographical location straddles an overlapping zone between the subtropical and temperate climates. This overlap allows for a high diversity of species to be found on the Refuge. Additionally, it is uniquely positioned to support a wide variety of resident and migratory species.
Annual Visitation: Approximately 50,000
Mailing/Physical Address: 2045 Mud Lake Road, DeLeon Springs, FL 32130
Office Phone: 386-985-4673
Hours of Operation
The refuge is open year-round during daylight hours or from sunrise to sunset. It may be open on a limited basis outside these hours for special events sponsored by the refuge.
The headquarters office is located in DeLeon Springs, Florida, which is 25 miles west of Daytona Beach and 7 miles north of Deland. The Refuge encircles the State-owned waters of Lake Woodruff and the St. Johns River forms much of the western boundary. The majority of the Refuge lies within Volusia County with only a small portion in Lake County. The Refuge lies within a mosaic of public lands in north-central Florida. The Refuge is bordered to the west by the 400,000 acre Ocala National Forest and to the north by the Lake George State Forest.
The annual maximum temperature for this area is 80 F and annual minimum temperature is 61 F. The average annual precipitation is 48 inches.
Fees and Costs
Visiting the Refuge and Visitor Center is free. If you are participating in the hunts at the Refuge, you will be required to pay all hunting fees. (Go to Hunt tab for more hunting information.)
Activities at the Refuge
A variety of outdoor activities take place on the Refuge including nature photography birding, hiking, fishing and boating. Fifteen miles of trails are available for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. (Not all trails are open for horseback riding due to the type of trail and location.
Boating is a favorite activity of the many people who visit the Refuge. Boating activities including kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and air boating. No boat ramps or launches are located on the Refuge. Boat ramps located nearby are Tedders Boat Ramp, DeLeon Springs State Park or the Highland Park Fish Camp. Tedders is located on the DeLeon Springs Run north of the Refuge and south of the DeLeon Springs State Park. Kayak and canoe rentals are available at DeLeon Springs State Park. Highland Park Fish Camp is located on the Norris Dead River on Highland Park Road.
Guided bird walks are held monthly during the cooler season from October to April on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Many Audubon groups also hold bird walks on the Refuge throughout the year and a portion of the annual Audubon Christmas bird count takes place on the refuge.
Many people come to the Refuge to look at or photograph nature. Because of the diversity of wildlife and beautiful natural landscapes found on the Refuge it is a perfect place for these activities. Photography is often combined with many recreational activities at the Refuge.
Limited hunting is allowed on the Refuge on a permit basis in designated areas. Hunting is restricted to archery and primitive guns. Only deer and hog are legal to be taken and hunting is used as a method to manage these species to prevent habitat destruction.
All hunters 16 years of age or older must purchase a Lake Woodruff Deer/Hog permit. These permits are issued through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FL FWC). To apply go to myfwc.com, click on "hunting", and then click "limited entry hunts".
The Refuge is a "pack in, pack out" refuge or as the saying goes, "leave only footprints and take only great pictures and memories". All trash should be taken with you when you leave. Do not remove any plants, natural items or cultural artifacts from the Refuge. The only time you can remove anything from the Refuge, except trash, is when fishing and hunting, as permitted by fishing and hunting regulations.