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Visitor Activities

Wildlife Observation 2012

Adventures are waiting for you on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge. Download the refuge brochure to find your next adventure.

  • Interpretation


    There are information kiosks at boat landings that include interpretive messages to help a visitor make their own connection to the river refuge. Staff-led programs help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitats. Programs and events are free. Contact the refuge for more information about upcoming programs and the calendar of events.


    If you are visiting the La Crosse/Onalaska, Wisconsin area be sure to stop in the La Crosse District Visitor Center. 


    If you are visiting the Quad Cities or Galena, Illinois area be sure to stop in the Savanna District Visitor Center also called the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center. 


  • Great River Road


    The Great River Road borders the entire river refuge.  You can find your adventure on the refuge by exploring the Great River Road and the neighboring river communities.

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  • Hunting

    Waterfowl Hunting on the Refuge1

    Hunting and trapping have a deep history and tradition on the refuge. Most hunting opportunities are in wetlands, on islands and in floodplain forest accessible mainly by boat. Portions of the refuge are open to hunting and trapping in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations with the most restrictive regulations applying on the refuge.


    Hunting Brochure
    Public Use Brochure



  • Fishing

    Fishing in Savanna District on the Refuge2

    The refuge is an anglers paradise. The refuge is known for walleye, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and bluegill. There are year-round fishing opportunities including many ice fishing locations. Fishing is allowed in accordance with state and federal regulations. Please consider using non-lead alternatives for fishing tackle. Lead is a toxic metal that affects the nervous and reproductive system of mammals and birds. Help the refuge wildlife by switching to lead-free tackle.

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  • Wildlife Viewing

    Winter Wildlife Watching1

    There are observation decks, pull-offs, and canoe and bike trails to help you observe the natural wonders of the refuge. Although boating provides the most intimate look at this river refuge, many visitors enjoy viewing the refuge’s wild and scenic beauty from blufftop overlooks in state and local parks bordering the refuge. The refuge, and its wildlife, marks time by the ancient rhythms of spring, summer, fall and winter.  If you enjoy birdwatching the refuge Bird List provides information on nesting and seasonal abundance of birds.  

  • Canoe Trails


    Marked canoe trails wind through the marshes and backwater areas of the refuge.  Canoe areas provide quite, peaceful areas to paddle a canoe or kayak.   Explore your national wildlife refuge.

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  • Walking and biking trails


    There are a few trails throughout the refuge.  Explore either by walking or on the bicycle trails that are adjacent or wind through part of the refuge. 

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  • Environmental Education

    Exploration is the best way to learn about the river refuge.2

    The refuge's environmental education program focuses on increasing understanding of the river refuge. Contact anyone of the refuge offices to schedule a program.

  • Photography

    Wildlife Photography

    With more than 240,000 acres, the refuge is the perfect place to capture a sunrise or sunset. A trip to the water’s edge will reward any photographer with a snapshot of riverine species. Be patient and silent to capture the magical moments on the refuge.

Page Photo Credits — Credit: USFWS
Last Updated: Jul 01, 2014
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