|Maps:||Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge Water Trails Map (2.2 MB)|
Grand Marais Access
Deep Slough Access
Shallow Lake Access
|Description:||A free Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge access permit is required of anyone using the refuge. Permits are available online, at access points and refuge headquarters on U.S. Highway 82.
Water Trail Length
Deep Slough Trail – 1 mile
Deep Slough to Shallow Lake Trail – 3.6 miles
Grand Marais Trail - 3.7 miles (loop)
Expect to travel 1-2 miles per hour.
These trails cover flat water, although the current quickens as the Ouachita River rises. When the river level at Felsenthal Lock and Dam rises above 68 feet, expect flooding, strong current and debris. Check weather forecasts, wind advisories and river conditions before floating. Watch for powerboats. Take a GPS unit or compass, and map, and tell someone of your plans.
Don’t Get a Ticket
According to Arkansas law, children 12 and under must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket, and anyone on a boat must have one ready to use. Vessels 16 feet and longer must have a throwable life preserver (type IV) aboard. Glass containers are illegal in boats such as canoes and kayaks that can be easily swamped. Paddlers must securely fasten cooler lids, use attached litter containers and use floating holders for beverages.
Wildlife and Habitat
Felsenthal NWR is a bottomland hardwood forest with rivers, sloughs, swamps and lakes that gradually rises to upland forest. At normal level (65 feet), the pool covers 15,000 acres and can increase to 36,000 acres at full pool. Overcup, water, Nuttall, and willow oaks are common, with water hickory and sweetgum in areas that drain better. Bald cypress, water tupelo and buttonbush thrive in flooded bottoms. Mallards, wood ducks, teal, coots and hooded mergansers are plentiful in shallow water during winter. Scaup and other diving ducks frequent deeper, open-water areas. Watch for egrets, herons, wood storks and ibis during summer, along with prothonotary warblers and scarlet tanagers in shoreline trees. Bald eagles, woodpeckers and osprey may be seen all year. Beavers, otters, mink, diamondback water snakes and alligators are common.
Wear hunter orange during hunting seasons. Stick to main channels and avoid paddling during waterfowl season shooting hours. Check the Arkansas Hunting Guidebook and the Felsenthal NWR Public Use Regulations brochure for hunting dates and seasonal closures of the waterfowl sanctuary.
Bluegill, redear and largemouth bass frequent cypress tree trunks, and lily and lotus pads. Flathead and channel catfish hang out in deep holes by day and prowl the shallows at night.
Camping is allowed in primitive, designated sites on the refuge. Crossett Harbor and Grand Marais recreation sites offer improved camping.
Ashley County or Union County EMS 911
Ashley County Sheriff 870-853-2040
Union County Sheriff 870-864-1990
Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge 870-364-3167
Wildlife Hotline 800-440-1477
|NWR:||Visit Felsenthal NWR website|