Trails

Wildlife Observation Building Trail

This short, 200 yard trail begins behind the refuge Visitor Center and leads through a section of forest to the Wildlife Observation Building which overlooks a waterfowl/wildlife observation pond.

During winter months, hundreds of ducks and geese, and thousands of Sandhill cranes use the area for feeding and loafing. Summertime can provide opportunities to see butterflies, turtles, wading birds, songbirds, and an occasional sighting of a bald eagle, osprey, or kestrel.

Look for the trailhead behind the Visitor Center building. The trail consist of a hard-packed crushed stone surface and a small wooden footbridge. The trail and first floor of the Wildlife Observation Building is wheelchair accessible.
Trail Length (mi)
0.15
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
5 minutes
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Accessible trails
Birding
Hiking
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Dancy Bottoms Nature Trail

Located in a bottomland hardwood area near Flint Creek, various woodland wildlife can be spotted throughout the year. The trail serves as Site #33 on the North Alabama Birding Trail.

Due to nearly constant flooding in the middle section of trail, the trail functionally ends after 0.5 miles, allowing you to make a 1 mile out-and-back walk from the trailhead off Red Bank Road. The trail consists of a hard-packed crushed stone surface.

From the Visitor Center, turn right on Hwy 67. In 1.7 miles turn right at the Indian Hills Road traffic light. In 3.1 miles, turn right onto Red Bank Road. After 1.7 miles turn right immediately before the Flint Creek bridge onto a short gravel road which dead ends at the trailhead.

Bicycles are not permitted on this trail.
Trail Length (mi)
0.99
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
30-60 minutes
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Birding
Hiking
Photography
Wildlife watching
View Trail

Flint Creek Trail

This double-loop trail offers an opportunity to see various plant and animal species associated with an oak-hickory forest. The trail begins with two boardwalks crossing the backwaters of Flint Creek, the first two left turns put you on the shorter of the two loops. For the second, longer loop, continue down the trail keeping the old pavilion on your right-hand side.

Common trees include: hickory, oak, red maple, sweet gum, yellow poplar, and dogwood - creating shade for most of the year. Sassafras, witch hazel, grapevine, and greenbriers are found throughout the understory. Woodland species such as chipmunks, squirrels, woodpeckers, and northern cardinals are often seen on this trial while warblers are sometimes seen and heard during the spring and fall migrations.

The trailhead is located at the Flint Creek Day Use Area on the north side of Hwy 67, less than 1/4 mile west of the Visitor Center entrance. The trail consists of boardwalk and dirt surfaces.

Bicycles are not permitted on this trail.
Trail Length (mi)
1.28
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
60 minutes
Route Type
Loop
Trail Activities
Birding
Fishing
Hiking
Wildlife watching
View Trail

Atkeson Cypress Trail

Located on the south side of the refuge Visitor Center, the trail begins as a boardwalk through a beautiful cypress swamp and continues as a short loop through a wooded area, returning back to the parking lot. For a shorter walk, take the short-cut back to the parking lot after the boardwalk ends.

The trail consist of a boardwalk and hard-packed crushed stone surface, and is wheelchair accessible. The trail is only open during normal Visitor Center operating hours.

To minimize disturbance to wildlife, please stay on trail and do not enter closed areas. Bicycles are not permitted on this trail.
Trail Length (mi)
0.49
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
15 minutes
Route Type
Loop
Trail Activities
Accessible trails
Birding
Hiking
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Beaver Dam Boardwalk

This 0.5 mile trail is a combination makes for a 1.0 mile out-and-back walk into the Beaverdam Creek Swamp National Natural Landmark. This 580 acres of the refuge was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974 in recognition of the tupelo gum (water tupelo) swamp found there. Occurring within the Interior Low Plateau biophysiographic province, this habitat type is an unusual occurrence, as it is typically found further south in the Gulf Coastal Plain biophysiographic province.

Various species of frog, turtle, and fish can sometimes been seen and songbirds can often be heard singing from the forest canopy. The trail serves as Site #25 on the North Alabama Birding Trail. The trail consist of boardwalk and a hard-packed crushed stone surface.

From I-565, the trailhead can be accessed by taking Exit 7 (County Line Rd), turn right (south) on County Line Rd, crossing over the interstate. Within 0.1 mile, turn right on Old Hwy 20, this road travels past an industrial area and dead ends at the trailhead in about 2 mils after running parallel to the interstate.

Bicycles are not permitted on this trail.
Trail Length (mi)
0.49
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
30 minutes
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Birding
Hiking
Photography
Wildlife watching
View Trail