Regulation of recreation activities allows for public enjoyment of the Refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats.
The Refuge is open from sunrise to sunset for appropriate recreational uses including boating, hiking, fishing, biking, photography, and birding. Formal interpretation and education visits can be arranged, though we do not lead such events.
There are three distinct areas to the LSNWR:
Shellmound 9 miles north of Cedar Key;
Levy County side of the LSNWR with a 9 mile Nature Drive and three formal trails as well as many grass roads that are open to walking and biking;
Dixie County side of the LSNWR.
Visitors access the Refuge via the Nature Drive in Levy County and the Dixie Mainline and County Road 357 in Dixie County. Roads throughout the refuge are lime rock; visitors must maintain the posted speed limit. No camping or overnight parking is allowed within the Refuge; although, there are County campgrounds adjacent to the refuge on both sides of the Suwannee River.
Winter visitors will enjoy the mild weather, but sunscreen is suggested. Summer requires lots of water, bug repellent and sunscreen – maybe even a hat and sunglasses. Cell phone reception is spotty in the backcountry; most of the area is backcountry and Verizon seems to work best
There are 194 miles of refuge roads and trails for public access to view wildlife, hike, bike, drive in your vehicles, photograph, and fish. The maintained lime rock roads are open to public driving. The grass roads behind the locked gates are open to hiking and biking.
The refuge hosts 10 difference hunts; please consult the LSNWR Hunt Brochure.
Refuge trails, boardwalks, fishing piers, overlooks, and kiosks provide family-friendly wildlife viewing areas. The refuge has few hills, so all trails have very little elevation-gain, offering easy walks without losing any of the nature-experience opportunities. Need help navigating? Print your own trail map or pick up one of the yellow trail description brochures when you arrive on the refuge.
The Friends of the Refuges Website has many refuge maps for public use.
Lower Suwannee Map
From US 19 in Chiefland, Florida, turn south onto County Road 345, drive for approximately six miles, turn right onto County Road 347, follow that road until it junctions with County Road 330. Turn left at the junction and drive six miles to the big brown information signs, and follow them. You can also do a computer search using these words: Vista, Levy County, Florida.
The headquarters office has a visitor contact station that provides maps, brochures, information and a warm welcome for visitors. Restroom facilities, a pollinator garden, and paddling information are also available. Call ahead to get through the gate: Andrew Gude’s cell +1703-622-3896, office +1352-493-0238 x224.
Dixie Mainline North Entrance: 29° 26.504'N, 83° 11.234'W
Dixie Mainline South Entrance: 29° 20.819'N, 83° 7.516'W
Shired Island Boat Launch and Beach Trail: 29° 23.893'N, 83° 12.108'W
Numerous refuge roads off of Dixie County Road 349 between: 29° 28.419'N, 83° 0.666'W, south to 29° 23.215'N, 83° 4.797'W.
Refuge headquarters entrance: 29° 22.438'N, 83° 2.244'W.
North entrance Nature Drive: 29° 21.889'N, 83° 2.334'W.
Pond 4 Road: 29° 18.604'N, 83° 3.262'W
Barnett Creek Road: 29° 18.422'N, 83° 3.775'W.
McCormick Creek Road: 29° 17.490'N, 83° 3.620'W.
Cabin Road: 29° 17.433'N, 83° 3.149'W.
South Entrance Nature Drive: 29° 17.795'N, 83° 1.958'W.
Gate 10 Road: 29° 16.016'N, 83° 0.552'W.
Shellmound Road: 29° 12.816'N, 83° 0.664'W.