Wildlife - Watchable Wildlife
portion of the Refuge is open to the public for hiking, wildlife viewing,
and wildlife photography. Most of the Refuge is accessible from State
highways or County roads. You can park in one of the many Refuge parking
lots to access the area of your choice. Some areas of the Refuge are closed
to the public (see map). Access
roads, parking lots, trails, and other points of interest are designated
on the map. Below is a description of the ways that you can view the Refuge.
By car: The Refuge has many miles of County roads that run through the Refuge. Visitors can slowly drive these roads and try to catch a glimpse of wildlife.
foot: If getting out and walking is your preference, the Refuge has
The Coalton Bottoms trail once was a railroad used to haul coal out of the area. Today, this old railroad has been converted to a ½-mile trail that will take you along a beautiful wooded ridge and near the Deep Fork River. The Refuge has other trails that are routinely mowed. These mowed trails lead from the Refuge parking lots out into the Refuge.
boat: Approximately 34 miles of river run through the Refuge. Taking
a canoe or small jon boat down the Deep Fork is a unique and rewarding
way to see some of the more remote areas of the Refuge. Those that choose
to take a river trip should be aware that the Deep Fork has many hazards,
such as water fluctuations, tree snags, and rocky falls. Launching
a boat is also complicated by the steep banks of the River.
Presently, the Refuge does not have improved boat launches, but small canoes and jon boats can be launched at the bridges at highways 56 and 75, and at Coalton road. Boaters should plan their putting in and taking out points at these bridge locations.
Wildlife watching changes with the season on Deep Fork NWR. The forest stirs with the trills of warblers heading north. Migrating waterfowl touch down in open waters for a much needed rest. Egrets settle in to court, mate and nest. Frogs, turtles, and snakes emerge from hibernation to soak up the warmth and sunshine. Rabbits and deer nibble on tender, green plants. Steamy heat favors butterflies, dragonflies and animals raising their young. Does and fawns venture into meadows to feed together.