Steve Thompson Wildlife Drive


See our Habitat tours for access to the Wildlife Drive.

Update 3/12/2020 - The Steve Thompson Wildlife Drive (formerly Bayside Drive) will be closed to hiking, biking and vehicles until further notice.  

Habitat Tram tours on the Wildlife Drive will remain through March. Please call the Refuge for reservations.

Due to a safety issue, the Wildlife Drive will be closed to hiking and biking. Wildlife has been closed to private vehicles since October of 2013, after two endangered ocelots had been struck and killed by vehicles on the drive in 2009 and 2010. GPS data collected from tracking collars showed that ocelots were crossing Wildlife Drive up to 100 times per month.  The small ocelot population could not withstand another preventable loss.  The refuge closed the road to private vehicles until a solution could be found and closed to hiking and biking after construction began in 2018.

With the dual goals of protecting wildlife and allowing the public to enjoy and learn about nature, the refuge worked with the Federal Highway Administration to develop a plan that would allow public vehicles back on Wildlife Drive, while minimizing the danger to wildlife.  Two under the road wildlife crossings (similar to box culverts) will be installed so that ocelots and other wildlife can move about their natural ranges without having to cross on top of the road.  Parts of the drive that formerly made a loop will remain closed to vehicles, thus the remainder of the drive will be widened to allow for two way traffic.  The entrance to the drive will be relocated to the south to avoid ocelot habitat.   

Once construction is completed, the refuge plans to reopen the Wildlife Drive to private vehicles on a limited basis. The refuge offers over 60 miles of hiking and biking trails in addition to the Wildlife Drive, and we encourage the public to continue visiting while construction takes place. 

Contact the visitor center at 956-748-3607 ext. 111 for more information. 

We appreciate your patience and cooperation and believe we have made the best choice for the needs of wildlife and people based on the scientific data we have collected.