From birding to viewing speedy pronghorn, wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge visitors.
From every state and all parts of the globe, about 40 million people visit each year, especially for the chance to see concentrations of wildlife and birds.
Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.
Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list. Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes. Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System. We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike.
At Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge a 6-mile self-guided auto tour route takes you through a variety of Refuge habitats, providing excellent opportunities to view and photograph waterfowl, other water birds, pronghorn, white-tailed prairie dogs and coyotes. The ADA compliant 1/2-mile interpretive Moose-Goose Nature Trail, which winds along the Illinois River, provides a great chance to view song birds, and other riparian residents such as moose, American beaver and northern river otter. You can hike, bicycle. or horseback ride on any Refuge road open to public vehicular traffic, but please do so with caution. It is a good idea to wear hunter orange or brightly colored clothes during hunting seasons! The Refuge has three overlooks to facilitate viewing wildlife and habitats at a distance. These can be a good spot to view our resident herd of elk. There is also an ADA compliant hunting/photography blind which can be used for viewing wildlife at the Fox Pond.