Bluffs of Weiss


Mountain Property Daytrip to the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

Alabama’s Largest Birding Trail

If you are visiting your Bluffs mountain property during the Winter or Spring seasons you may want to take a daytrip over to the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is a wildlife display park, which is also the gateway to North Alabama’s largest birding trail. The National Park is located along the Tennessee River, between Decatur and Huntsville. It was established in 1938, and provides habitat for wintering and migrating birds.

Wheeler National Park is comprised of a great diversity of habitats like bottomland hardwoods, agricultural fields, pine uplands, wetlands, and backwater embayment. This variety of habitats provides excellent resting, feeding, and roosting sites for waterfowl, as well as nesting sites for migrating songbirds.

Wheeler National Park also serves as a winter home to the State’s largest duck population. Along with the varieties of migratory birds, the National Refuge also hosts 74 species of reptiles and amphibians, 115 species of fish, 285 species of various songbirds and 47 species of mammals. The National Park also offers refuge to 10 federally listed endangered and threatened species of birds and animals.

History of Wheeler National Refuge Park

The natural history of Wheeler National Park can be traced back to early pre-settlement times. The first National Park was placed on the multi-purpose reservoir, which was inhabited by Native Americans during the pre-settlement times. There were riparian woodlands, moist soil units, pine uplands, and croplands that provide diversity for huge collection of wildlife. The trees that mainly dominate the Park area include poplars, white oaks, hickories, ash and tupelo gums.

Activities in Wheeler National Park

While you are in Wheeler National Park, you can opt for an array of activities. The recreational opportunities in the park includes wildlife photography, fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, wildlife observation, and boating. There is a wildlife observatory building that helps you to view various wildlife like geese, ducks, hummingbirds, butterflies and other insects that are attracted to the blooming flowers. The National Park Refuge offers five hiking trails ranging in length from 200 yards to 5 miles. While you cruise in a boat through the waters of Tennessee River, you can also experience some great fishing opportunities.

If you are primarily interested in viewing wildlife, then travel to the Visitor Center to view the best collection of the ducks, geese, humming birds, Sandhill Cranes, butterflies, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and various other songbirds. If you are very lucky, then you may even get to view the American Alligators in the waters of the Tennessee River.

Best time to visit Wheeler National Refuge Park

Wheeler National Refuge Park is located in Decatur, Alabama, which is about 80 miles north of Birmingham and 30 miles west of Huntsville. From Interstate 65, you have to take exit 334 and travel west on highway 67 to reach the National Park. The Refuge Visitor Center is 2 miles on the left and the Refuge headquarters is 2.5 miles on the right.

You should visit National Wheeler Park in winter and spring, when a variety of migrating birds flock to the Park and wildflowers are in bloom. Summer is the best time to fish for a variety of fishs like catfish, bass and bluegill.

Visit National Wheeler Park to watch a fabulous collection of wildlife and rare species of trees.