Central Loop, North Alabama | Limestone | Best Seasons: Winter
Arrowhead Landing (Site # 23, Central Loop) is located on Limestone Bay, another corner of the fertile Wheeler Reservoir and the Tennessee River. There is an outstanding view of the bay and the wooded areas on Beaverdam Peninsula. Watch the open water for rafts of Lesser Scaups, Red-breasted Mergansers, Green-winged Teals, Common Loons, and perhaps some surprises. At times of low water, check the mudflats for migrant shorebirds and the shallows for wading birds, such as Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets.
Gulls are regularly seen here, including Herring, Bonaparte, and Ring-billed. American White Pelicans can be seen here by the 100’s in winter on some days, though they move from location to location with frequency. There is always the chance that you will hear the loud rattle of a Belted Kingfisher as it announces its presence and darts on by.
The waters can be viewed from your vehicle, but note that the road can be bumpy. It does not require a vehicle with high clearance to access this location, but it does require driving very slowly over the bumpy parts.
GPS: N 34.6050, W 86.8922
Amenities: Parking, Driving Trail, Handicap Access, Hiking, Canoeing, Boat Access, Fishing
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Wheeler NWR Visitor Center
3121 Visitor Center Road
Decatur, AL 35603
Boat launch and parking area are accessible as they are partially paved. You can also scan the water for ducks and geese from your car.
From I-565 west of Huntsville take exit 2 and travel south .1 mile to the Old AL Highway 20. Turn right and go 0.7 mile. Turn left (south) on a gravel road and follow this road for 1.6 miles. Take the left fork at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge entrance sign and travel another 0.4 mile to the landing.
Amenities Available: Wheelchair Accessible
Decatur Hospitality Nature Park
The Decatur Hospitality Nature Park (Site 17, Central Loop), nearby US Highway 31 Causeway, and the Decatur Boat Harbor provide a great opportunity to scan the waters of the Tennessee River for winter waterfowl and shorebirds. This area is one of th …
Round Island Recreation Area
Round Island Recreation Area (Site #22, Central Loop) provides access to the north side of the Tennessee River and an excellent vantage point for viewing winter waterfowl as well as cormorants, loons, and grebes. The pine woodland that surrounds the …
Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area
Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area (Site # 21, Central Loop) on the Tennessee River is managed for waterfowl and small game, although it supports many more species. Mudflats can be covered with shorebirds, serving as a key attraction to this area in …
Wheeler NWR – Beaverdam Peninsula Tower
A visit to the Beaverdam Peninsula Tower (Site #24, Northeast Loop) in the summer may make visitors wonder why the tower is even mentioned. This broad observation platform sits in wheat and corn fields dotted with a few Red-winged Blackbirds. While a …
Wheeler NWR – Beaverdam Swamp Boardwalk
The Beaverdam Swamp Boardwalk (Site #25, Central Loop) leads the visitor into the heart of the largest Tupelo Swamp in Alabama. While exploring the boardwalk, watch the canopy for active flocks of Tufted Titmice, Red-eyed Vireos, and warblers. The sw …
Wheeler NWR – White Springs Dike
White Springs Dike (Site #20, Central Loop) on Wheeler NWR is one of the premier birding sites of the Tennessee River Valley in Alabama. The dike runs between a de-watering area on the north side and the Tennessee River on the south. Intrepid birders …