Visit Us

Know Before You Go:

During winter and spring, the refuge can become flooded. During spring and summer, ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes are prevalent, so bring bug spray. The entire lake, Baker’s Island, and Sand-slough moist soil unit are waterfowl sanctuaries and are closed to public use from November 1 through February 28. The refuge may be closed and hunting suspended during periods of severe flooding. Please call the refuge for the most up-to-date conditions.

The visitor center is a nice area to learn and ask questions about the refuge’s history, wildlife management, and wildlife that use the refuge. The observation platform at Mud Island is an excellent place to view eagles and waterfowl. At Bright’s Landing, there is a boat ramp for launching boats and a fishing pier that is a great place to view wildlife and go fishing. Timm’s Point has a boat ramp and an observation platform that is great for viewing wildlife and having a beautiful overlook of Big Lake.


Oak Island Trail takes you deep into the cypress swamp where you can view all types of wildlife while getting some exercise. The Champion Overcup Oak Trail is a relatively short trail that takes you to the largest Overcup Oak tree in the state of Arkansas.

Other Facilities in the Complex

A National Wildlife Refuge Complex is an administrative grouping of two or more refuges, wildlife management areas, or other refuge conservation areas that are primarily managed from a central office location. Refuges are grouped into a complex structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

Learn more about structure
because they occur in a similar ecological region, such as a watershed or specific habitat type, and have a related purpose and management needs. Typically, a project leader or complex manager oversees the general management of all refuges within the complex and refuge managers are responsible for operations at specific refuges. Supporting staff, composed of administrative, law enforcement, refuge manager, biological, fire, visitor services, and maintenance professionals, are centrally located and support all refuges within the complex.

Rules and Policies

Big Lake NWR's Public Use Regulations brochure has all the information you need to enjoy the refuge's recreational activities safely.

Visitors may enter the refuge no earlier than 4:00 am and must leave by one hour after sunset, except those hunting or fishing at night with the appropriate equipment and required license.

Big Lake NWR and Ditch 28 are closed to all waterfowl and migratory bird hunting.


Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge
2274 Highway 18Manila,AR72442
Driving Directions

Big Lake NWR is located in northeast Arkansas adjacent to the bootheel of Missouri. From Blytheville, travel west on State Highway 18 approximately 15 miles. From Jonesboro, travel east on State Highway 18 approximately 35 miles. The headquarters is located on the north side of the highway.

Office/Contact Station
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 3:30 pm
All Federal Holidays