Located in Decatur, AL, the refuge attracts thousands of wintering waterfowl each year as well as manages and protects habitat for 12 federally endangered or threatened species.

Facility Closures (updated 11/14/2023)

  • OPEN: The Wildlife Observation Building, the Photography Blinds, Atkeson Cypress Boardwalk, and Visitor Center grounds are open 7 days/week, 9:00-5:00, November-February.  Please visit the "Location and Contact Information" section of our website for holiday closures and year-round operating hours.
  • CLOSED: The Visitor Center building remains closed for the final stages of renovation work, and is expected to reopen in December 2023.
  • An ADA portable toilet is available in the visitor center parking lot, but visitors are encouraged to use restroom facilities before visiting the refuge.
  • Group visits will not be scheduled for the foreseeable future to allow staff to focus on reopening facilities.
  • ROAD REOPENING: Rockhouse Road, Jolly B Road and HGH Road have been reopened starting Saturday, September 16. Reminder: these roads are open to vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians and the speed limit of 15 mph is being enforced.


In-person visitor services will not be available during this time.  Refuge information, maps, hunt permits, and trail guides will be available at the information kiosk outside of the visitor center front gate as well as the Document Library on the bottom of this webpage.  Visitors needing further assistance should call (256) 350-6639, and leave a message, if needed.

Hunt Permits, Refuge Regulations, Maps, Gate Schedules and Guides can be downloaded from https://www.fws.gov/refuge/wheeler/library 

America the Beautiful Park Passes:

Those wanting to purchase an Interagency Park Pass should call (256) 350-6639 to make an appointment and arrangements to buy the pass.

Visit Us

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is rich in wildlife and recreation opportunities. Thousands of people come to the refuge each year to enjoy solitude, to commune with nature, and to share the joys of wildlife and being outdoors with family and friends. The refuge Visitor Center and Observation Building are located near each other and should be your priority stop when visiting the refuge for the first time.

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1938 as a wintering area for ducks, geese and other migratory birds. Today, the refuge attracts thousands of wintering waterfowl and cranes each year. The refuge is also a winter home to the endangered whooping crane who first arrived in 2004.

      What We Do

      To help plants and wildlife, refuge staff uses a variety of habitat management techniques to maintain, recover, or enhance plant and wildlife values. Refuge staff carefully considers many management techniques and employs them in varying degrees according to the situation.

      Our Species

      Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge was established as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.  A diversity of habitat types provide excellent feeding, resting, and roosting sites for wintering waterfowl and Sandhill Cranes , as well as nesting sites for neotropical migrant birds and many species of resident wildlife.

      Our Library

      Our digital library is a collection of refuge documents and brochures for you to browse.