Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) lies along the lower 17 miles of the Hatchie River in Western Tennessee. Unlike most Mississippi River tributaries that have been straightened and have had levees constructed for flood control, the Hatchie River remains the longest continuous stretch of naturally meandering river in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. In result, wildlife and fisheries thrive in its almost pristine watershed ecosystems. The Refuge helps protect and enhance the ever diminishing bottomland hardwood forests, along with other important habitats within the Hatchie River watershed. The Refuge currently comprises 13,764 acres.
Lower Hatchie NWR is open daily from sunrise to sunset. This National Wildlife Refuge offers activities throughout the year. Some of the most popular include:
- Wildlife Observation & Photography
- Environmental Education and Interpretation
Hunters are required to have in their possession a valid Refuge hunt permit, which also serves as the Lower Hatchie NWR Public Use Regulation brochure. This permit is available free of charge at the refuge headquarters, or can be found on the Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge website.
Much of the refuge is open to motorized and non-motorized boating. There are a number of accessible boat ramps. Paddlers (canoes and kayaks) can enjoy paddling in sloughs and oxbow lakes, as well as along small rivers and streams. Please be advised, flooding creates hazardous conditions for all boaters and extreme caution must be exercised.
Wildlife Observation and Photography
A viewing tower is located close to the Headquarters Office that offers great opportunities to view and photograph a variety of wildlife species.
Lower Hatchie NWR offers a viewing tower to see a variety of bird species.
Hikers can explore trails on the refuge by obtaining a refuge map found in our Public Use Regulations brochure.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Environmental education and interpretation is one of the primary objectives of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and Lower Hatchie NWR has a Refuge complex Visitor Services Park Ranger on staff providing opportunities for educational programs on the refuge, in schools, and for community events.
Access to the Refuge is varied and subject to seasonal weather conditions, river flooding, and Refuge management activities. Check with the Refuge headquarters before venturing out.
FeesAccess to the Refuge is free. Quota hunt permits cost $12.50. See the Refuge website for more information.
Several areas have been developed for mobility impaired accessibility. A mobility impaired fishing pier is located at Champion Lake and Sunk Lake on Lower Hatchie NWR. The observation tower at the Refuge has also been improved for mobility impaired accessibility.
Pet Friendly Notes
Dogs are permitted for hunting small game and migratory birds. All hunting dogs are required to wear a collar displaying the owners name, address, and telephone number.
All others dogs/pets must be kept on a leash while on the Refuge.