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.
Just outside of the visitor center is the Upland and Bottomland Hardwood Trail that takes you from the uplands, down the escarpment, and into the bottoms. The bottomland portion of this trail can be accessed when the gauge reading of the White River at St. Charles is 28 feet or lower. These trails are open year-round during daylight hours.
Below are georeferenced ATV trail maps. You can use them with a GPS-enabled mobile device to see your location while on the refuge. You will need to import the PDF files to a georeferenced PDF reader, such as Avenza. These maps should only be used as a reference as some of the trails may be incorrectly identified on these maps. ATVs and UTVs are only allowed on yellow-marked trails and are prohibited on gravel roads.
Observe the wonders of a mature bottomland hardwood forest in the Ethel Bottoms area of the refuge’s South Unit. The highlight of the trail is the largest tree in Arkansas, a Bald Cypress estimated to be over 1,000 years of age and over 14 feet in diameter. Follow the trail 1.2 miles to the Champion Cypress. This trail may be muddy or inaccessible during periods of high water.
To reach the trailhead from Hwy 1, follow Hwy 17 south to Ethel. In Ethel turn left at the Ethel store and follow the blacktop around the dogleg curve to the south. The road will become unpaved, and then turn left onto Refuge Rd towards the Ethel refuge entrance at Smokehouse Hill. Turn right at the refuge entrance and continue over the concrete Essex Bayou bridge. After approximately one mile, there will be a gravel trailhead parking area and signboard on the left.