Diversity and abundance of wildlife at Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge provide wonderful hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, educational, photo and other opportunities as it protects, manages, and enhances the ecosystem and viable populations of wildlife.
Clarks River NWR was established in 1997 and is the only National Wildlife Refuge in the state of Kentucky. It is comprised of one of the region's largest remaining bottomland hardwood forests. This area nourishes an explosion of wildlife diversity.
Freshwater mussels, amphibians, fish, and mammals are all found in abundance here, and migratory songbirds and waterfowl take advantage of this rich habitat on their long flights from nesting to wintering grounds.
Whether visitors seek active recreation, quiet relaxation or continuing education, Clarks River is a place to visit in all seasons.
Hunting is one of the tools used to manage wildlife populations on the refuge. Popular hunting seasons include deer, turkey, waterfowl, and small game. Area specific regulations apply in addition to state regulations.
Hunters are required to obtain, and sign a free refuge hunting permit before arriving to hunt on the Refuge. Waterfowl hunting on designated waterfowl management units is allowed by quota draw hunt only. For more information on the draw, please see the refuge hunting/fishing permit.
Fishing enjoyed by visitors of all ages. On the refuge they reel in a variety of fish including largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie. Please obtain a refuge fishing permit before arriving to fish. https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/regulations/clarks-river-national-wildlife-refuge-hunt.pdf
Interpretation and hiking take place at the Environmental Education and Recreation Area (located off of Hwy 408, east of Benton, KY) where there are interpretive signs, observation decks, trails, and more. At the refuge headquarters a kiosk is located outside with maps, brochures, current events and other information.
Wildlife viewing is the most popular activity for refuge visitors nationwide. Clarks River offers myriad opportunities to see everything from the birds of the air to creepy crawlers from bottoms to majestic bucks in the fields.
Photography - Don't miss a single photo while on the refuge. Whether your bring a cell phone or a professional set up, the best camera is the one you have in your hand!
There's also an Auto Tour and a GPS Adventure!
While some areas are closed during the winter, other sections are open year-round. Please contact us for more information.
ADA Accessibility Notes
Much of the refuge is ADA accessible. Please contact us for specifics.
Pet Friendly Notes
Dogs are welcome on the refuge as long as they are on a leash.
How to Get There
Directions to Refuge Headquarters: From I-24, take Exit 25- I-69/Purchase Parkway South to Exit 43- Benton/Symsonia towards Benton. Turn left on Hwy US 641 North (3rd stoplight); Clarks River NWR is 1 mile on left on Hwy 641.