Laguna Atascosa NWR (LTC 024)

Tips for Birding

When submitting eBird observations at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, it is most helpful to start a new checklist for each hotspot within the refuge. Use this general hotspot when you have a checklist that includes multiple locations or if no other hotspot or personal location is appropriate for your sightings.

Birds of Interest

From bald eagles to spoonbills, from condors to puffins, birds abound on national wildlife refuges. Refuges provide places for birds to nest, rest, feed and breed making them world-renown for their birding opportunities.

About Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

See all hotspots at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

Laguna Atascosa was established in 1946 to provide habitats for wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds, principally redhead ducks. Today, there is an expanded emphasis that includes endangered species conservation and management for shorebirds. The refuge is a premiere bird-watching destination with more recorded species of birds than any other refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The refuge is open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. There is something for everyone, with over 60 miles of hiking and biking trails. Maps and a self-pay station are located on the right-hand side of the visitor center door. The refuge has five bird feeding stations and four water features around the visitor center. The visitor center trails are ADA accessible, and at 0.8 of a mile, with plenty of bird viewing areas, the trails are a birder's must! Once you get your birding in, take a beautiful scenic bike ride around the 14.2-mile loop of Steve Thompson Wildlife Drive (STWD). The only driving trail is Lakeside Drive. This trail will take you to Osprey Overlook; Osprey Overlook overlooks our 3,500-acre freshwater lake named after the refuge. There are multiple trailheads near this location, Gator Pond, Scum Pond, and County Trail. One of our most popular hikes is going south on the Gator Pond, turning east on Mud Trail, and then north on Scum Pond; this short 3-mile hike is excellent for every outdoor enthusiast.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

  • Roadside viewing

Content from Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge Official Website

Last updated July 30, 2023