National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings.
To the office headquarters and Cussetah Bottoms Boardwalk Trail: From Highway 75, turn east onto Lavender Street. At the stop sign, turn left and follow S. 250 Rd to the end.
Montezuma Creek Fishing Area: From I-40, head north on Highway 75 approximately 8 miles. Montezuma Creek Fishing Area will be on the right.
- From Okmulgee, head south on Highway 75 for approximately 4.5 miles. Montezuma Creek Fishing Area will be on the left.
Coalton Bottoms and the Railroad Overlook Trail: From Highway 75, turn east onto Lavender Street. At the stop sign, turn right and follow signs to the Railroad Overlook.
There is no charge to visit.
Restrooms are available inside the refuge headquarters and the comfort station in the Cussetah Bottom Boardwalk Trail area.
Points of Interest
The Cussetah Bottoms Boardwalk Trail is a great place to visit. During hot summer months, the trees provide shade from the sun. A variety of wildlife species can be seen in the trees or foraging in the wetland.
If you’re looking for a place to drop a fishing line, stop by the Montezuma Creek Fishing Area. The three ponds are open year-round and provide easy access for any one just looking to relax and enjoy time outdoors.
What To Do
If you have 15-minutes.
Check out the Coalton Bottoms Railroad Trail and River Overlook
If you have one hour.
Check out the Cussetah Bottoms Boardwalk Trail
If you have half a day or more.
Grab a fishing pole and drop a line in one of the ponds at the Montezuma Creek Fishing Area. Don’t forget your fishing license!
Know Before You Go
No matter the season, the refuge is always open. Just remember to pack for your adventure. Bring plenty of water, snacks, insect repellant, and sunscreen. Oklahoma weather is always changing. We recommend checking the weather forecast and making sure you are dressed for the temperatures. A good pair of comfortable walking shoes is highly recommended.
Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge is home to a variety venomous snakes, such as the cottonmouth, western diamondback rattlesnake, and the pygmy rattlesnake. If you see one, do not approach. Keep your distance.
Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife. Animals that only move, whether for feeding or traveling, at dawn and dusk are called crepuscular.
In warmer seasons, few animals are moving on hot summer afternoons or on windy days.
Observe from the sidelines. Leave “abandoned” young animals alone. A parent is probably close by waiting for you to leave.
Don’t offer snacks; your lunch could disrupt wild digestive systems.
For a closer look, bring binoculars. This is especially helpful to see small, fast moving birds such as warblers, or large mammals out in an open prairie.
Wear clothing (if possible) that will help you blend in with the environment. Loud colors, or disruptive patterns, make you more easily seen.
Do not wear perfumes or use soap with strong smells, as the animals will smell you and will likely flee before you have a chance to see them.
Try sitting quietly in one good location. Let wildlife get used to your presence. Many animals that have hidden will reappear once they think you are gone.
Walk quietly in designated areas, being aware of sounds and smells. Often you will hear more than you will see.
Teach children quiet observation. Other wildlife watchers will appreciate your consideration.
Look for animal signs. Tracks, scat, feathers, and nests left behind often tell interesting stories.
Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge offers opportunities for anyone looking to spend some time outdoors. If you have 10 minutes or all day, come see what we have to offer. Grab your fishing pole or a pair of binoculars and spend some time enjoying nature.
Cussetah Bottoms Boardwalk Trail
- Open Season: Open year round
- Length: 0.5 miles
- Location of trail: Refuge Headquarters
- Surface: Paved, Boardwalk
- Difficulty: Easy, ADA Compliant
- Information: This elevated boardwalk is a great place to view wildlife in a bottomland hardwood forest. Be sure to stop at the photo/observation blind located nearby. The 1,200-foot long boardwalk and trail wind through the bottomland hardwood forest. As visitors meander throughout the trails and boardwalk, there are interpretive panels, resting decks, benches, a pavilion, restroom and observation blind. Look for great egrets and red-tailed hawks scanning the wetland for their lunch and see if you can identify the dragonflies that flit from one area to the other along the boardwalk.
Coalton Bottoms Railroad Trail and River Overlook
- Open Season: Open year round
- Length: 0.5 miles to the Overlook. 1 mile round trip
- Location of trail: 1.5 miles south of Lavender Road. Follow signs on Coalton Road to the trailhead.
- Surface: Gravel
- Difficulty: Easy, ADA Accessible
- Information: This trail was a railroad grade used to haul coal out of the area at one time. Today, the old railroad bed has been converted to a half-0.5 mile trail that will take you along a beautiful wooded ridge near the Deep Fork River.
Rules and Policies
There are a lot of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn't help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. Please check with the refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself. There are plenty of activities at Deep Fork National Refuge for you to enjoy. Be safe and have fun!