Skip Navigation


  • A herd of elk, including bulls, cows and calves, wade across Mission Creek in late summer.  Photo by Dave Fitzpatrick, Volunteer, NBR/USFWS.

    Winter Drive Open to Two-Way Traffic

    To promote viewing along Mission Creek, the Service has opened the Winter Drive to two-way traffic after Labor Day.

    Details about Two-Way Traffic on Winter Drive

  • US Fee Area Logo, yellow triangle with white circle.

    Visit Your Public Lands - FREE

    To encourage you to visit National Wildlife Refuges around the country, there are a number of days in 2014 where entrance fees are waived.

    Link to the dates and places

  • 2014 Federal Duck Stamp depicting a pair of Canvasback, a rusty headed duck with light gray back

    2014 Duck Stamps on Sale

    Did you know you can use your Federal Duck Stamp as a pass to National Wildlife Refuges as well as for hunting? (Artwork by Adam Grimm)

    Federal Duck Stamp Website

  •  Black and white graphic of motorcyclist riding along a bumpy road.  Photo from Microsoft Word.

    NOTICE - All Bikers!

    For safety reasons, motorcycles and bicycles are not allowed on any of the scenic drives. Details about access at link below.

    Motorcycles and Bicycles

Noteworthy News

Current Operating Hours

Replica of old wooden entrance sign to National Bison Range.  Photo by USFWS

The National Bison Range front gate is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Red Sleep Mountain Drive is open - start by 6 p.m.

Operating Hours

About the Complex

National Bison Range Complex

Complex Graphic

Three other National Wildlife Refuges as well as a Wetland Management District can be discovered along with the National Bison Range throughout the Flathead, Mission and Pleasant Valleys.

National Bison Range is managed as part of the National Bison Range Complex.

Learn more about the complex 

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS  

Follow NWRS Online


Wild Happenings

  • Draft Environmental Assessment Now Available

    The Draft Environmental Assessment for a Draft Annual Funding Agreement for the National Bison Range Complex in Montana is now available for viewing.

    Draft Environmental Assessment
  • A Moment in Time

    A bull elk with large antlers stands facing the camera.  Photo by Ryan Hagerty, USFWSSeptember 03, 2014

    To promote wildlife viewing along Mission Creek, the Service has opened the Winter Drive to two-way traffic after Labor Day. This allows for access to the creek from either direction (coming off the one-way Red Sleep Mountain Drive or “backwards” from the Visitor Center area). Wildlife viewing along Mission Creek can be spectacular throughout the fall, especially during the elk mating season. The male elk will “bugle”, defining and defending their territory. White-tail deer also frequent the creek bottom. And gold begins to color the cottonwood as the weather gets cooler. Get details at link below.

    Winter Drive Open to Two-Way Traffic
  • Recent Sightings

    Birdwatchers looking through binoculars.  Photo by Ronald Laubenstein, USFWS

    There is much going on at the National Bison Range with the changes in weather, changes in season. Check out what visitors and staff are seeing while they travel through the Refuge. And let us know what you’ve spotted on your most recent trip.

    Recent Sightings
  • Is it Bison or Buffalo?

    Bison head view next to true buffalo head view.  Photos by Dave Fitzpatrick, USFWS and John Storr, Wikimedia

    We don’t really have buffalo in North America. The true buffalo are the Cape buffalo of Africa and the water buffalo of Asia. However, the American bison has been called “buffalo” for so long that we use the names interchangeably. Technically, these North American animals are bison and, sure enough, their scientific name is 'Bison bison', while buffalo are in the 'Bubulus' genus. All are related in the cow family but they have some physical differences, including horn shape and type of fur. To find out about more fun facts and trivia, follow the link.

    Bison Quick Facts
Page Photo Credits — All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Tick photo by Mat Pound, USDA Agricultural Research Service,, Cape buffalo photo. ©John Storr, Wikimedia., 2013 Bird Day poster. ©Environment for the Americas
Last Updated: Sep 08, 2014
Return to main navigation