Visitor Activities

Barred Owl

Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge offers a wide variety of activities while enjoying the outdoors!

  • Hunting


    Hunting is permitted in designated areas on Dale Bumpers White River NWR, in accordance with all federal, state, and refuge specific regulations. Seasons and species that can be hunted are restricted on the refuge. Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy and traditional outdoor pasttime that is deeply rooted in America's heritage. Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the refuge system.

    Please obtain a Refuge User Permit by either printing it out here or picking up a copy at one of our seven yellow brochure boxes located  at Clarendon (boat launch and kiosk by Lost Lake), visitor center gravel parking lot, Brown Shanty entrance, Ethel Bottoms, Jacks Bay, Prosperous Bayou, Indian Bay, or Prairie Lakes and Levee Road on the east side.

    There are two quota deer hunts requiring additional permits that are available. Please check back for instructions on how to apply online for these hunts. Check each year for the newest Refuge User Permit and Brochure and the most up-to-date information.

  • Updated Hunt Map

  • Fishing


    In addition to the conservation of wildlife and habitat, the refuge system offers a wide variety of quality fishing opportunities.  Fishing programs promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on all lands and waters in the refuge system.  Every year, about seven million anglers visit national wildlife refuges where knowledgeable staff and thousands of volunteers help them have a wonderful fishing experience. Find more information with our on-line Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuge.

    Multitudes of fishing experiences are available to the public at Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge. Public boat ramps are available at 36 locations, including some on the White River as well as many oxbow lakes, bayous, and ponds. For more information and up-to-date fishing regulations on the refuge, read our Hunting and Fishing Regulations

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Observation

    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to your nearest national wildlife refuge!  From birding to whale watching, from viewing speedy pronghorn antelope or slow-moving box turtles, wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge visitors.

    Forty million people, from every state and all parts of the globe visit each year for the chance to see concentrations of wildlife and birds.  The National Wildlife Refuge System’s extensive trail system, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting and photography blinds, fishing piers and boat launches encourage visitors to discover America’s best wildlife spectacles. 

    From Wildlife Drive, located just beyond the visitor center, you can access the Observation Tower to view wildlife on the Demonstration Area, open March 1 - October 31. You can also view wildlife on many of the hiking trails, listed below under Hiking. Be sure to be quiet while going into locations to view wildlife, especially early morning and late evening, and make sure to know the open hours for each trail. Click here for the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Birding Checklist. 

  • 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, many national wildlife refuges 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.

    Come visit Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge's recently remodeled visitor center to learn about the importance of bottomland hardwood forests and the different kinds of wildlife present throughout the refuge. The Upland Trail has interpretive panels that will help you discover the types of wildlife that are on the refuge.

  • Environmental Education

    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.

    Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge visitor services manager position is currently vacant, but if your school, youth group, or other groups are interested in learning about wildlife, plants, animals, and habitats of Dale Bumpers White River NWR, we will strive to accommodate you. Please contact the refuge office in Saint Charles at (870) 282-8200 to make reservations. 

  • Photography

    Wildlife Photography

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years is 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 are at the top of the list. Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the National Wildlife Refuge System.  

    Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge has several areas that photographers can use to get fantastic shots. There are roadsides, trails, and towers which provide different views and different species of animals. As opportunities to improve wildlife photography are made available, volunteers with the Friends of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge can work in conjunction with White River staff for different projects. See the Get Involved page for details. We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card, or internal hard drive! 

  • Hiking Trails

    Hiking Trails

    Dale Bumpers White River NWR has hundreds of miles of trails open to both foot traffic and ATVs when designated by yellow blaze on the trees. There are many trails that allow the public to access several parts of the refuge during high water and low water. The trails listed below are open to hiking only to give visitors a chance for solitude and greater wildlife viewing opportunities. 

    Learn More
  • Paddling


    Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge has a 3.3 mile canoe trail located at H Lake. The trail has no markers but a geo-referenced map can be downloaded here for use with the Avenza app. More information about the trail can be found here as well as other established water trails across the state.

    You can pick up a brochure from the visitor center or click here. There are lots of great spots for canoeing, just bring your own gear and explore the many lakes, streams, and ponds on the refuge.