Arkansas with its forests and bayous offers many adventures for travelers. There is no better way to visit this state and all its wilderness attractions than in an RV motorhome. And there is probably no better place to go on an RV vacation than the White River National Wildlife Refuge. Bird lovers, hiking enthusiasts and history buffs all find this wildlife refuge a place of wonder and excitement.
Established originally to protect migratory birds, this refuge has become a popular place to go to experience a wide variety of wildlife. The floodplain of the White River provides habitat that attracts birds of all kinds and also offers plenty of outdoor recreation. This is where the White and Mississippi Rivers meet and support one of the largest bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi Valley. The South Unit’s roads are open from 1 March to 15 December. The remaining roads in the refuge are open all year.
You will have no problem finding RV camping in the area. Outside the boundaries of the park you can camp at the Merrisach Lake Campground where you will find electrical hookups, a dump station and flush toilets. Camper’s Refuge in Saint Charles is north of the park and has a few campsites with electrical, sewer and water hookups. The sites are also very private. Pat Kelley RV Park is somewhat further away and has large pull-through sites with water and sewer hookups and 30 or 50 Amp service. Once you have your home base established, it is time to explore.
Jones Lake is a great place to fish, and you can hook a large or small perch whether fishing from the shore or by boat. This is just one of more than 300 lakes and ponds within the refuge. These watering spots attract a great many animals. You may see white-tailed deer and even an American black bear. Other wildlife you may glimpse: beavers, frogs, turtles and ducks.
Be sure to stop and visit the White River National Wildlife Refuge Office and Visitor Center. The interactive displays provide an intriguing education about the history of the area, both the human history and ecological history. In the exhibit hall you can see a film in one of the two miniature theaters. The favorite seems to be the one about nature in action during nighttime hours, with sounds of owls, frogs and foxes.
There are a number of hiking trails in the refuge which give you the opportunity to get out into the forests and have some solitude as well as see more wildlife. The CCC Trail opens on the first of March and takes you to the banks of the White River. The Observation Tower Trail also opens in March and is a short walk to a tower where you can climb to get a wide view of the open fields. The Trail of Tears is a National Historic Trail which is one trek you shouldn’t miss.
No question about it – White River National Wildlife Refuge is a place of wonder and the perfect RV vacation getaway spot for the whole family.