Hiking Trails

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CCC Trail 

Open March 1 — October 31

The CCC Trail is located along the Wildlife Drive a few miles from the visitor center. The trail takes visitors over a levee and water control structures that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the early 1930s. This half mile trail ends at the bank of the White River offering a great spot to watch for wildlife or to simply enjoy the view.

Observation Tower

Open March 1 — October 31

Located on the Wildlife drive between the CCC trail and the Big Island Chute Trail is the Observation Tower Trail. This is a short 200-yard walk to a 20-foot tower offering views of open fields for observation of flora and fauna.

Big Island Chute Trail

Open March 1 — October 31

The Big Island Chute Trail is located on the Wildlife Drive a few miles past the visitor center. This one-third mile trail takes visitors to the Big Island Chute that branches off the White River. This trail has a wonderful collection of different tree species that have been identified with interpretive signage along the walk.

Champion Cypress Tree Trail

Open March 1 — December 15

Click here for the trail map

Directions to Trailhead: From Highway 1, turn south on 17 and travel to Ethel. Turn left at Ethel store and follow the paved road to the refuge entrance. Enter the refuge through the Ethel entrance and turn right towards Smokehouse campground. Drive past Smokehouse until you come to a "Y" intersection. Turn left passing over Essex Bayou and travel for approximately 1 mile. Trailhead will be on your left. 

Hiking the trail: This trail is 1.2 miles one way to the largest tree in the state. Follow this trail for approximately 1 mile, and then turn left at the trail intersection taking the smaller trail to the tree.

Bottomland Hardwood Trail

Open year round

Located behind the visitor center, this 1.5-mile trail offers different views of uplands, bottomland hardwoods, an open pond, and from the bank of the White River.

Upland Trail

Open year round

The Upland Trail is a one-mile, paved-loop  trail that is handicap accessible. It offers interpretive panels and benches. No motorized vehicles are allowed and pets must be on a leash. The trail can be accessed from the parking area located off of Highway 1, or from the visitor center parking area. The trail is open all year during daylight hours.