Laguna Atascosa was established in 1946 to provide habitat for wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds, principally redhead ducks. Today, there is an expanded emphasis that includes endangered species conservation and management for shorebirds. The refuge is a premiere bird-watching destination with more recorded species of birds than any other refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
A flock of 20 birds of varying species stand at the edge of the water surrounded by brown vegetation
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Laguna Atascosa  National Wildlife Refuge makes it easy for you to pay your entrance fee (or buy an annual pass) before you visit, using

The Visitor Center is currently closed for the summer. The refuge and trails remain open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset.

Don't forget your sun protection and water. 

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges offer us a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. The refuge is open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. There is something for everyone, with over 60 miles of hiking and biking trails. Maps and a self-pay station are located on the right-hand side of the visitor center door. We have five bird feeding stations and four water features around the visitor center. These visitor center trails are ADA, and at 0.8 of a mile, with plenty of bird viewing areas, these trails are a birders must! Once you get your birding in, take a beautiful scenic bike ride around our 14.2-mile loop Steve Thompson Wildlife Drive (STWD). The only driving trail is Lakeside Dr. This trail will take you to Osprey overlook; Osprey overlook overlooks our 3,500-acre freshwater lake named after the refuge. There are multiple trailheads near this location, Gator pond, Scum pond, and County Trail. One of our most popular hikes is going south on gator pond, turning east on mud trail, and then north on scum pond; this short 3-mile hike is excellent for every outdoor enthusiast.

Location and Contact Information

      Come prepared!

      To ensure your visit to one of the most bio-diverse habitats in South Texas is safe and fun, here are a few tips to live by: 

      • Please check all trail closures under Maps & Resources 
      • Wear proper clothing.
      • Please do not go on a hike with open-toe shoes (we have plenty of thorns that will cause significant discomfort)!
      • Bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent!  
      • Always observe wildlife from a safe distance. 
      • Bring plenty of water.

      About Us

      Here, the endangered ocelot silently hunts within the brushlands, white-tailed deer browse on a banquet of plants, Aplomado falcons soar above the grasslands and nearly half of all the bird species found in the continental United States rest, feed, nest or migrate on this landscape. Making LANWR one of the best refuges in Texas!

      Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 110,000 acres, a portion of which are open to the public for wildlife related activities like wildlife watching, hunting, fishing, Interpretation, photography and environmental education. The refuge is home to an incredible biodiversity with more than 450 plant varieties, 417 species of birds documented, 130 types of butterflies, 45 mammal species, 44 reptile and amphibian varieties and approximately 40 fish species.

      Laguna Atascosa is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Whos mission is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Our Species

      Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge has an impressive 417 species of birds, 45 mammals, 44 kinds of reptiles, 130 butterfly and 450 plant species. It is located in deep South Texas, which is one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America.