Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge

Description:
The refuge, north of Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, covers 52,257 acres along the lower 20 miles of the Suwannee River, including 26 miles that front the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors may hike, bike or boat through diverse habitats that include coastal pine flatwoods, cypress swamps, hardwood forests, tidal marshes and offshore islands. South of the refuge office, entrance gates provide access to a nine-mile loop road, suitable for cars. Some side roads are closed to vehicular traffic. Other roads, including the Dixie Mainline Trail, are located on the north side of the river, off of CR 349.

Watchable wildlife:
Drop by the refuge office, located about 15 miles south of Chiefland on CR 347 to pick up a map, bird checklist and other information. Walk the 0.4-mile River Trail and boardwalk, located just north of the refuge headquarters, for views of the river and riverine forest.  During the spring and fall, scan the trees here for sign of migratory warblers. Along roads through the refuge, visitors may see turkey, deer and wild hog at dawn and dusk. Red fox and bobcat also reside here. Black bear sightings are occasionally recorded. Alligators, wading birds and wintering waterfowl, such as blue-winged and green-winged teal and hooded mergansers, live in the interior wetlands. The north side of the river features two observation platforms. An overlook and two short nature trails are located at Shell Mound off of CR 326 on the south side of the river. This is an excellent place to observe shorebirds at low tide. Willets, plovers, oystercatchers, sandpipers, gulls, terns and black skimmers are common. Look for brown pelicans, cormorants, and osprey year round; while white pelicans may be spotted in the winter. Scan near shore waters for buffleheads, horned grebes and red-breasted and hooded mergansers. Bald eagles, red-shouldered hawks, vultures and swallow-tailed kites (spring and summer) are regularly seen throughout the refuge.

Ownership:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Contact:
(352) 493-0238

Directions:
The refuge office is located about 15 miles south of Chiefland on CR 347. Observation platforms and additional roads are located on the north side of the river, off of CR 349.

Related Sites:
Other North West Florida Wildlife Sites
Florida State Parks



FWC Facts:
One of Florida's smallest owls, the burrowing owl lives in open, treeless areas.

Learn More at AskFWC