St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Refuge Information

Activities: Wildlife observation, photography, hiking, biking, horeback riding, fishing, boating, historical and cultural resources.
Visitation: 250,000+ visitors, annually        Click here for a map of the area.

Address: P.O. Box 68, St. Marks, FL 32355
Telephone: (850)925-6121
Email Address: saintmarks@fws.gov

Hours of operation:
The refuge is open year 'round, daylight hours. The Visitor Center is open Mondays - Fridays, 8am – 4 pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm; Closed most Federal holidays.

Climate Late Fall through early Spring the weather is usually cool, with some afternoon showers; Summer is hot and humid with a variety of biting insects.

Pets on a leash are allowed on the refuge.

Fees, Costs, and Rates : A $5/car entrance fee is collected at the St. Marks Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge. Fees for bicyclists/pedestrians are $1/day. An annual pass into the St. Marks NWR can be purchased for $15/12 months. Federal passes are accepted and are sold/issued at the Refuge Visitor Center. Federal Duck stamps can be purchased. They are $15 and are good from July 1 thru June 30. Commercial Tour buses and/or van rates are as follows: Bus or Van: 20 visitors or less is $25.00 and 21 visitors or more is $50.00. Note: Charter tour bus companies need to make arrangements with Refuge management prior to bringing their tours to St. Marks NWR. A user fee for the boat ramp is collected at the Aucilla River Unit.

Federal Recreation Passport Program: St. Marks NWR accepts/sells the following federal passports:

  • Federal Duck Stamp ($15)
  • St. Marks NWR Annual Passport ($15)
  • Access Passport (free)
  • Senior Passport ($10)
  • Annual Passport ($80)

Any of the above passports can be purchased at the Refuge Visitor Center. All passports exempt Entrance Fees only! Visitors wishing to use the Aucilla Boat Ramp are still subject to the Users' Fee.

Special Use Permits: Outside of research projects, requests to use refuge facilities for special functions and/or group activities must be made in writing to the Refuge Manager at least 6 weeks in advance of the activity. Each request will be evaluated for compatibility with refuge objectives and, if approved, will be handled by a Special Use Permit. A fee may be applied for the special use permit issued.


Visitor Center (St. Marks Unit)


Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is open Mondays – Fridays, 8am – 4 pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm; Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Nature Store, located in the Visitor Center. carries items that highlight the animals and plants of the Refuge; and all profits go to support Refuge programs and projects.

Address: P.O. Box 68, St. Marks, FL 32355
Telephone: (850) 925-6121
Email Address: saintmarks@fws.gov

Directions


[Map]

Location of and Directions to Visitor Center Parking Lot:

30° 9.097'N 84° 8.845'W

Directions for Google Earth below:

  • GOOGLE EARTH:
    Save the file "St. Marks NWR Visitor Center.kml" to your desktop or any other location on your computer. Open Google Earth. Click "File". Click "Open". This opens a dialog box allowing you to browse to where you stored the .kml file. Navigate to where you stored the file, click on it, and then click "Open". Google Earth will display a pin or button icon at the entrance to the Visitor Center parking lot located at 1255 Lighthouse Road, St. Marks FL 32355 and a placemark will be added under your "My Places - Temporary Places" toolbar.
  • GOOGLE MAPS:
    Copy and paste the Latitude and Longitude coordinates above (they are given in Degrees - Decimal Minutes) into the search bar on Google Maps. Click Search. A green arrow will be displayed at the entrance to the Visitor Center parking lot located at 1255 Lighthouse Road, St. Marks FL 32355.

Map: St. Marks Unit with Road Numbers


Nature's Classroom


Environmental Education Building

The Environmental Education Building, known as Nature's Classroom, was completed in September 2011. It contains 3200 sq. ft. and has one conference room, the Barred Owl Room, and one classroom, the Monarch Butterfly Room. Besides environmental education, Nature's Classroom is used for wildlife photography classes, St. Marks NWR Photo Club, First Sunday at the Refuge programs, and local and national conferences.

Nature's Classroom is located nexst door to the Visitor Centerl.

More about the Education Programs offered.


Trails


  • Florida National Scenic Trail – crosses into the St. Marks Unit from the east and west. The entire segment of the Trail on the refuge is 49.5 miles. Camping permits for through hikers are available at the Visitor Center. Open to foot & bicycle traffic only.
  • Plum Orchard Pond Trail - located behind the Visitor Center and Nature's Classroom.
  • Primitive Trails – Deep Creek is 12 miles; Stoney Bayou is 6.5. Both trails start 1.5 miles south of the Visitor Center on Lighthouse Rd. Trails follow old logging roads and levees around Refuge pools. Great for seeing shy wildlife and migratory birds. Map at trailhead also. Open to foot, bicycle & horseback riding traffic.
  • Headquarters Pond Trail – this ¼ mile trail is located across from the Mounds trailhead provides access to a small wooden observation deck at the edge of the pond. Named for an old refuge headquarters site, this pond is great for wading birds, ducks, wood storks and bald eagles. Open to foot & bicycle traffic only.
  • Tower Pond Trail – (also known as Mounds Trail), it is located 5 miles south of Visitor Center, with parking next to the restrooms. The trail has a leaflet at the trailhead and winds for one mile through slash pine forests, oak hammocks, and salt marsh. Tower Pond is now being managed as a saltwater lagoon for migratory songbirds, ducks, and wading birds. Open to foot and bicycle traffic only.
  • Cedar Point Trail – located near the saltwater boatramp, this is a ½ mile trail open to foot traffic only.
  • Lighthouse Levee Trail – located at the end of Lighthouse Rd. at the right of the parking lot, this ½ mile trail has interpretive focuses on coastal plants. Leaflet at the trailhead. Open to foot, bicycle and horseback riding traffic.
  • Create your own – all levees and woodland roads are open to hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Make up a trail that meets your needs! See refuge map.

Otter Lake Rercreational Area (Panacea Unit)


Otter Lake

The Panacea Unit is largely dominated by uplands pine and oak forests, with several fresh water lakes interspersed. Primitive walking trails criss-cross through this unit, and like the Wakulla Unit, this unit is open to quota-hunts during the fall and winter months. Located within the Panacea Unit is the Otter Lake Recreation Area, which offers picnic shelters, restrooms, and a launching point for small boats (motor size limit of 10 horse power or less).

Use of picnic facilities, trails and launch point is free to the public.

[Map]


Aucilla River Unit:


Aucilla River

Located along the banks of the Aucilla River, this unique area features a boat ramp and plenty of fishing opportunities for visitors. This area is currently managed by Taylor County in a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Aucilla River unit is located off Hwy 98, approximately 15 miles east of the town of Newport. Aucilla boat ramp is still subject to the user fee for Taylor County.


Wakulla Unit:


Wakulla

Located off Hwy 98, west of the town of St. Marks, the Wakulla Unit of the wildlife refuge offers upland forests, palm hammocks, fresh and brackish water marshes and tidal beach access to the Apalachee Bay. This unit is open to quota-hunts during the fall and winter months, and it provides an ideal launching point for small boats year-round. Approximately 5.5 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail traveres through this portion of the refuge including the popular hike through the "Cathedral of Palms" to Shepard Spring. No facilities. Use of launch point and access to trails are free to the public.

[Map]




For more information on St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge write Refuge Manager, P.O. Box 68, St. Marks, FL 32355. Phone: (850) 925-6121 or email us at: saintmarks@fws.gov.

Last updated: June 4, 2013