Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Public Use Activities

Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS

Wildlife Observation and Photography

We have 254 bird species and numerous other animals have been observed on the Refuge. See the Refuge bird list for a list of birds you might see. Several award winning photographs have been shot here on the refuge, so make sure you bring your camera.

Goose Overlook

This thirty-foot high observation platform overlooks Dickerson Arm of Bluff Lake and is a favorite wildlife viewing area for many people. During the fall, as many as 400 Canada geese, and up to 70 white-tailed deer can be seen at one glance in the fields and lake from this location. The platform is accessed by a level, handicap accessible, 150-foot walk. This site is open year-round, daylight hours only.

Morgan Hill Overlook

This observation platform sits atop Morgan Hill and provides perhaps one of the best vistas on the Refuge. From the platform, visitors will be greeted by a panoramic view of 600-acre Loakfoma Lake. Winter guests delight in the antics of the bald eagles which find this area favorable. The platform is handicap accessible and is accessed via an interpretative trail which winds through the Prairie Demonstration Project. This site is open year-round, daylight hours only.

Bluff Lake Boardwalk

This1000-foot long boardwalk takes the visitor onto an otherwise inaccessible cypress island. The walk is pleasantly shaded in summer and sheltered from wind during winter. The roofed overlook at the end of the boardwalk views the cattle egret rookery in summer and sports a beautiful view of Bluff Lake year-round. A great spot for viewing eagles and other waterbirds!

Cypress Cove Recreational Boardwalk

This winding boardwalk is located on Bluff Lake at Doyle Arm.  A little over 500 feet in length this boardwalk allows access to Bluff Lake for fishing, sightseeing, birdwatching, or just a different view.  It takes the visitor into a cypress grove on the edge of Bluff Lake and into the domain of the alligators and water dwelling creatures.  In warm weather the floating cypress logs offer sunning spots for turtles.  Wading birds, waterfowl, bald eagles, and a large winter rookery of cormorants are often seen from this vantage point.  This boardwalk is wheelchair accessible.

Vehicles and Parking

Visitors may drive on county roads and un-gated Refuge roadways. Parking is only allowed in designated parking areas, or immediately adjacent to roadways. Vehicles are not permitted off roads or on dikes or trails. Only vehicles registered for highway use are permitted on the Refuge.

Foot Travel

Several foot trails provide views of wildlife habitats and access to observation points. Visitors should remain on designated trails, county roads, and Refuge roads. Trails are open year round, daylight hours only. Trails: Beaver Dam Trail, Morgan Hill Overlook Trail, Bluff Lake Boardwalk, Trail of the Big Trees, Wilderness Trail, Scattertown Trail, and the Woodpecker Trail.

Persons with Disabilities

The Morgan Hill Overlook , Goose Overlook, Bluff Lake Boardwalk, Cypress Cove Recreational Boardwalk and Refuge Headquarters are all wheelchair accessible. Visitors are also encouraged to drive the Refuge roads.


Hunting of certain species is permitted in designated areas. A separate hunting brochure is available showing open areas, dates and regulations.


Sport fishing is permitted in designated areas during certain times of the year. A separate fishing leaflet is available showing open areas and regulations.


Weapons are permitted in designated hunting areas during hunting seasons. At all times, weapons may only be transported through the Refuge in vehicles if they are unloaded and cased, or dismantled.


Pets are allowed, if on a leash, or under close control (within 10 yards of the owner).

Prohibited Activities

Sorry, but most activities not listed above are prohibited. Examples of banned activities include removal of animals, plants or items of antiquity without special permits, camping, fires, swimming, fruit picking, and firewood gathering (without a permit).

From November 1st through the end of February, Refuge waters are closed to all fishing and boating.


Food, gasoline and motels are available in Starkville, Brooksville, and Louisville.


Additional Information

Mississippi State University manages the nearby 8,244-acre John Starr School Forest. Additional information may be acquired from:

John W. Starr Memorial Forest
Box 9682
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Telephone: (662)325-2192

The U.S. Forest Service manages the nearby Tombigbee National Forest. Public campgrounds are available at Choctaw Lake. Additional information may be acquired from: Mississippi's National Forests.

Tombigbee Ranger District
Route 1, Box 98A
Highway 15 South
Ackerman, MS 39735
Telephone: (662)285-3264

The Refuge maintains a unique partnership with nearby Mississippi State University. The Refuge serves as an outdoor classroom and facilitates an extensive research program with the College of Forest Resources in both the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Department of Forestry.

For further information contact:

Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
2970 Bluff Lake Road
Brooksville, MS 39739
Fax: (662)323-6390


Last updated: July 18, 2012