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Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 450 Rio Hondo, TX 78583
Phone: (956) 748-3607 FAX: (956) 748-3609

Directions: Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 17 miles east of Rio Hondo, Texas. From Rio Hondo, drive 17 miles east on FM 106, until it ends at Buena Vista Road. Turn left and travel 3 miles north on Buena Vista Road.

Primary Wildlife: This coastal wildlife refuge is one of the top birdwatching destinations in the nation. Over 400 bird species have been sighted on the refuge, including the migratory waterfowl that winter in the area. Eighty percent of the North American population of redhead ducks winter on or near Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

Prime habitat for two endangered cat species, the ocelot and the jaguarundi, is found throughout the refuge.

Butterfly gardens, a joint effort between volunteers and staff, attract over half of all butterfly species found in the United States, including rare sightings of Mexican species.

Habitat: Along the banks of the Laguna Madre, Laguna Atascosa NWR is one of the largest remaining protected wild areas in the lower Rio Grande delta. Loma and coastal brushlands are accompanied by freshwater lakes and ponds, mudflats and beaches. Here, the elusive ocelot, a small cat whose numbers are estimated to be less than 100 in the United States, quietly prowls the brushlands; Aplomado falcons soar above coastal prairies; Kemp’s ridley sea turtles nest on the Gulf beaches; and the incredible diversity of bird species attracts wildlife watchers from around the world.

Recreation and Education: Laguna Atascosa is a haven for nature enthusiasts, photographers, students, and families. Several miles of designated hiking trails are available. Two auto tour loops, Bayside Drive and Lakeside Drive, provide easy access to a variety of attractions including the Laguna Madre, Alligator Pond, and Osprey Overlook. The Visitor Center provides educational displays and visitor information, along with a nature bookstore/gift shop. Visitor Center hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day) and the trails are open dawn to dusk. Entrance fee $3 per car.

Guided nature walks and birding tours are available during the winter months. Call the refuge for information and reservations.

Seasonal hunts for white-tail deer, nilgai, and feral hogs are available by permit only. The annual registration deadline is August 31. Call the refuge office for application information.

Fishing and camping are allowed in Adolph Thomae, Jr. County Park, located on refuge property, but operated by the Cameron County Parks System. For information on fishing and camping call 956-748-2044.

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