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Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit

Administration Office and Visitor Center

57 South CC Camp Road
P.O. Box 205
St. Charles, AR 72140
870-282-8200
whiteriver@fws.gov

Hours: Monday — Friday, 8:00 am — 4:00 pm. Closed Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays. 

 To find the Office and Visitor Center, turn south by the refuge sign located on Hwy. 1 in St. Charles. 

Points of Interest

When you arrive at the 10,000 square foot office and visitor center located off of Highway 1 in St. Charles, Arkansas, you will find an auditorium, environmental education classroom, and an interpretive exhibit hall. These exhibits and video rooms have been recently upgraded with new electronics and monitors for your enjoyment.

The foyer is home to a 28-foot tall replica of a bald cypress tree. In addition to the birds and other section of a bear den illustrating the unique denning habits of black bears on the refuge. The base of the tree is surrounded by an underwater diorama showcasing flora and fauna typical of the refuge's oxbow lakes.

The interpretive displays educate visitors about the human and ecological histories of the area, the hydrology of the White River, and the bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem. The center of the exhibit hall houses two miniature theaters. One educates about the importance of flooding on the refuge, while the other highlights nature at night. Inside this theater, you can experience the refuge on a typical night and learn about the local nocturnal wildlife.

Just outside the visitor center, the Bottomland Hardwood Trail takes you from the uplands, down the escarpment, and into the bottoms. This trail can be accessed during visitor center hours, when the gauge reading of the White River at St. Charles is 28 feet or lower.

If you want to stay dry, you can take the Upland Trail that is compliant with the American Disabilities Act.

Another great thing to check out while you are here is the Champion Cypress tree (see the Hiking Trails page to find directions).

Know Before You Go

In the summertime, temperatures and humidity can be extreme and can sometimes be dangerous! Be sure to bring plenty of insect repellent, drinking water, appropriate footwear, and sunscreen. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to visit, when temperatures are more moderate and wildlife is most active, especially during the summer.

There is no entrance fee to enter Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge. However, a Refuge User Permit is required for all activities on the refuge. The refuge user permit is also called the general brochure for the refuge. You can print a Refuge User Permit from this website. User permits can also be obtained at one of our seven yellow brochure boxes located at the Visitor Center gravel parking lot, Brown Shanty Road, Ethel Bottoms, Jacks Bay, Prosperous Bayou, Indian Bay, or Prairie Lakes and Levee Road on the east side.

River levels affect activities on the refuge tremendously. The refuge is affected by the levels of the Mississippi River and the White River, so it's good to be familiar with the river level gauges of both. See this page to view water levels of the White River at St. Charles, near the middle of the refuge (near Highway 1). Once it reaches 26 feet, the North Unit of the refuge closes to deer hunting, and will reopen once the gauges reaches 23.5 feet. Read the Public Use brochure for more information.

Here you can view water levels on the southernmost part of the refuge, impacted by the Mississippi River. When this reaches 145 feet and Graham Burke Outlet reaches 30 feet at the same time, then the South Unit closes to deer hunting. Hunting will reopen when the gauge reads 143 feet and 28 feet in the same locations. Flooding waters and river levels are very dangerous and deserve respect when venturing out on the refuge. 

Page Photo Credits — Barred owl, Strix varia by Matt Savage
Last Updated: Dec 22, 2015
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