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St. Marks NWR - Mounds Pool Interpretive Trail

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It encompasses 68,000 acres spread out between Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties along the Gulf Coast of northwest Florida. The refuge includes coastal marshes, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries of seven north Florida rivers, and is home to a diverse community of plant and animal life. The refuge also has strong ties to a rich cultural past, and is home to the St. Marks Lighthouse, which was built in 1832 and is still in use today.

Established in 1931, the Refuge was formerly called "St. Marks Migratory Bird Refuge," and back then its primary focus was providing habitat for the thousands of migrating ducks and geese that wintered here. Today, the refuge's priorities are protection and enhancement of habitat for: (1) endangered species; (2) migratory birds, and (3) the refuge's year round resident wildlife. The fourth priority for St. Marks NWR is to provide quality outdoor education and recreation opportunities for its visitors. Among the many recreational opportunities are numerous hiking trails. Hiking the refuge is most pleasant during the fall, winter and early spring.

The mile long Mounds Pool Interpretive Trail, located about 5 miles south of the visitor center, encircles Tower Pond. The pond hosts wintering waterfowl, and the marsh vegetation along its edges supports a wide variety of nesting species later in the year. The Mounds Pool Overlook provides an excellent vantage for viewing both the salt marsh and Tower Pond. Bald Eagles are often seen here. Only foot- and bicycle-traffic are allowed on trails. Only foot- and bicycle-traffic are allowed on trails.

Major Activities: Hiking
Trail Lengths/Surface: 1 Mile - Mounds Pool Interpretive Trail
.10 Mile - Headquarters Pond Trail

Federal entrance fee passes apply (Golden Eagle Passport, Golden Age Passport, Golden Access Passport) or daily passes can be purchased for $4/car. Annual passes include the St. Marks NWR Specific Pass and the current Federal Duck Stamp.

County: Wakulla
Nearby Cities: Tallahassee, St. Marks and Newport

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is open year round during daylight hours (dawn to dusk). The Refuge offers a variety of outdoor recreation activities for the refuge visitor. The refuge Visitor Center presents a general overview of what there is to do and see. Trails for hiking, wildlife observation and photography are available. For current information and wildlife sightings, check at the Visitor Center.

The Visitor Center is currently open Monday through Friday, 8:15am until 4:15pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am until 5:00pm. It contains a number of displays describing refuge wildlife and habitats. The Center provides an excellent opportunity for the visitor to become acquainted with the refuge before venturing out, and is highly recommended for the first-time visitor.

Access and Directions:
From Tallahassee:

Drive south on State Road 363, through Woodville, to the intersection of State Road 363 and 267 (blinking light at this intersection); turn left onto 267 and drive 4 miles to US Hwy. 98 (Coastal Highway); turn left onto the Coastal Highway and drive about 0.5 mile; cross over green metal bridge at the St. Marks River, and take the first right on Lighthouse Road. The visitor center and most public use facilities begin 3 miles down Lighthouse Road.

Maps are available for the other public use areas; contact the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center for more information.

Contact Information:
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
1255 Lighthouse Road
St. Marks, FL 32355
Phone: (850) 925-6121

Greenways & Trails believed this information to be accurate at the time of publication and assumes no liability arising from its use.