Established in 1943 for the protection of migratory birds, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is positioned along an east-west and north-south juncture of two major migratory routes for many species of birds. It is also at the northern-most point for many species whose range extends south into Central and South America. The refuge is right in the middle of all this biological diversity, which is what makes this 2,088-acre parcel the ‘jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System.’ Though small in size, Santa Ana offers visitors an opportunity to see birds, butterflies and many other species not found anywhere else in the United States beyond deep South Texas.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Visitor Center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. with the exception of major holidays.
Trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Pets are not allowed with the exception of service animals.
Over the last hundred years much of South Texas’ native thornscrub has been cleared in favor of friendlier vegetation. Today, only 10 percent or less of native thornscrub habitat remains in a natural state, having been lost primarily to agriculture, industrialization and urbanization. But efforts...
National wildlife refuges improve the quality of life for millions of Americans by boosting access to outdoor recreation, buffering storms, cleaning our air and water, and conserving wildlife. And that's just for starters.
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Seven days a week from sunrise to sunset, you can enjoy Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge's many trails. Enjoy wildlife-related activities, including wildlife watching, hiking, biking, and photography. Feel free to pack your lunch and enjoy it while sitting in one of our picnic areas in front of the pond located in the Malachite trail, next to the visitor center or near the Observation Tower trail.
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is home to resident species like green jays, chachalacas and great kiskadees, making it one of the top birding destinations in the world. Some of the rarest raptors at the refuge are the hook-billed kite and gray hawk. Spring warblers are abundant with more than 35 species seen, including golden-winged warbler, magnolia warbler, northern and tropical parula, American redstart, palm warbler and yellow-breasted chat. Zebra longwings, Julias, and Mexican bluewings are but a few of the more than 300 butterfly species can also be found on the refuge.
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