Plan Your Visit

Refuge Map 2018

Covering over 367 miles along the lower Missouri river throughout central Missouri and various locations in southwestern Missouri, the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge has plenty to offer! Scroll down to start planning your visit today.


Directions, Address & Contact Info

The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Headquarters building is located 8 miles east of Boonville, Missouri. Take Interstate 70 to exit 111, (Highway 179 and 98 exit) and turn left onto 179 if coming from the west, and right if coming from the east. Just 600 feet from the exit you will reach the junction of 179 and 98; turn left onto 98, travel 1/2 mile and turn right onto Brady Lane. Brady lane will fork; continue straight ahead and the building will be at the end of the road.

Navigating by GPS? Enter coordinates: 38°57'17.8"N 92°36'40.6"W

Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
18500 Brady Lane Boonville, Missouri 65233
660-672-2806

Hours of Operation

The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (NFWR) welcomes the public free of charge. 

Its Headquarters office and Visitor Contact Station at the Overton Bottoms North Unit is open Monday-Friday from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, except on federal holidays or during inclement weather conditions. We ask that you give us a call ahead of time to ensure that there will be a staff member or volunteer present to assist you.

Refuge land around the Headquarters building at the Overton Bottoms North Unit is open one-half hour before sunrise, and closes one-half hour after sunset.

Other Refuge lands/units are open 24 hours a day for permitted activities. 

Points of Interest

From Kansas City to St. Louis, Missouri, Big Muddy NFWR encompasses seventeen separate units and offers a variety of educational and recreational opportunities. 

Mostly located along the final 367 miles of the Missouri River, the river serves as the lifeline for many of the units' wildlife.

The river’s historic ability to carve out wetlands, side channels and sloughs within its floodplain greatly benefited wildlife in the past, but alterations have since restricted its ability to do so. Therefore, the Refuge currently manages approximately 20,000 acres for the benefit of wildlife and its visitors

All of the Refuge's units are open to the public and many have at least one parking facility and informational kiosk. Some units have trails, scour lakes for fishing and all are open to hunting and wildlife viewing. For directions, maps, and more information about each of the units, click the corresponding links below:

1. Jackass Bend Unit

2. Baltimore Bottom Unit

3. Cranberry Bend Unit

4. Cambridge Bend Unit

5. Jameson Island Unit

6. Lisbon Bottom Unit

7. Overton Bottoms North Unit

8. Overton Bottoms South Unit

9. St. Auberts Island Unit

10. Berger Bend Unit

11. Boone’s Crossing Unit

12. Cora Island Unit

13. Schmitt Unit new 2016

14. West St. Clair Unit new 2016

15. Moresi Unit new 2016

16. Providence Bend Unit new 2018

17. Panther Creek Unit new 2018

Recommended Locations

For Hiking

Visitors should visit the Jameson Island Unit adjacent to the historic community of Arrow Rock, Missouri. Here you can hike the Lewis and Clark Trail of Discovery and learn about the history and habitat of the area from interpretive signs along the way. This one mile hike ends along the banks of the Missouri River and offers both beautiful scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. 

For Hiking & Fishing

To experience the floodplain forest, visitors can hike the 3.2 mile Little Muddy loop trail at the Overton Bottoms North Unit. For a unique fishing experience try the Diana scour lake. This 11 acre lake scoured out by the river during the flood of 1993 is located adjacent to the Little Muddy Trail, and just a short hike from the trail head. Anglers have the opportunity to catch numerous different species of fish including bass, crappie, catfish and carp.

Know Before You Go

When planning a trip to the Refuge, it is important to wear appropriate footwear, sturdy shoes for land excursions and to dress for the weather

Consider bringing:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Binoculars
  • Field guides
  • A hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent - especially for ticks during the summer months
  • An inquisitive mind
  • Anything else that might make your outdoor experience safer and more enjoyable

NOTE: Many of the refuge units have little to no cell phone service and are subject to flooding resulting from precipitation miles upstream; therefore, visitors should leave a hiking plan with someone else and monitor predicted river levels before venturing out on the refuge by visiting this website. Please do not put yourself in a life threatening situation due to quickly rising floodwaters.