Visitor Activities


I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. - John Muir

  • Hunting

    Hunting Opportunities include Deer Hunting, Small Game Hunting, Turkey Hunting and Waterfowl Hunting

    About 75 miles from Nashville, Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge offers a great public hunting opportunity along 12.5 river miles of the Cumberland River. The refuge's woodland habitat holds sizable numbers of popular game species, including turkey, deer, squirrel, beaver and coyote. Turkeys may be hunted in the spring or fall (archery) seasons during general-access hunts. Deer hunters can choose from general-access hunts and one quota hunt. A firearm quota hunt, issued by lottery, takes place in October. The state season archery hunt, youth deer hunt and muzzleloader deer hunt are general-access opportunities until the refuge closes to the public on November 15. During the quota hunt, hunters must take an antlerless deer before being allowed to take a buck. While the refuge can draw thousands of ducks, it is preserved as a winter refuge for waterfowl. However, a season for resident Canada geese is held in September. Beaver and coyote may be hunted incidental to any scheduled refuge hunt.

    Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    As practiced on refuges, hunting, trapping and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management.  For example, because their natural predators are gone, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support.

    Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

    To find out more about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations on Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge, contact the refuge manager or refer to the Cross Creeks Hunting/Fishing brochure.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is allowed on the refuge between March 16th and November 14th. After November 15th, the refuge is closed to fishing as migratory waterfowl stop at the refuge during the Sanctuary period. Enjoy your time on the water with family, friends, or by yourself at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge! Fishing does not require an additional refuge permit. 

    For specific information about fishing on Cross Creeks, refer to the Cross Creeks Hunt and Fish Brochure.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge!  From backyard birding to kayak-blind photography, wildlife observation is one of the most popular activities for refuge visitors.

    A short trail called the Woodpecker Interpretive Trail is open to visitors of the refuge to see songbirds and mammals. For more information about wildlife observation opportunities at Cross Creeks NWR, contact Rick Eastridge, the refuge manager.

  • Interpretation

    Refuge System interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world.  From self-guided walks to ranger-led programs, Cross Creeks NWR aims to help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat behind the landscapes.

    In addition to staff and volunteers presenting programs to audiences, refuges use a variety of exhibits, signs, brochures, and electronic media to communicate natural history stories to visitors.  Printed and virtual information is often available on many topics, including plants and animals, seasonal migrations, habitats, refuge management strategies, and endangered species.

  • Environmental Education

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources.  Many refuges offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences.  Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities.  Thousands of youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.

    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of a particular national wildlife refuge?  Contact or visit Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge to check on program availability and reservation policies.  Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!

  • Photography

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography.  That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started.  A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list.  Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.  We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive! See our gallery here.