Refuge Drives

Centennial Mtns Refuge Pan 512

There are several short excursions you can take in the refuge. Some of the trips can be combined since they travel the same route.  Remember, there are no paved roads and some are not easy to pass in wet weather. The speed limit is reduced on these narrower roads and you should respect on-coming cars by slowing down to prevent broken windshields and chipped paint. Estimated time includes a leisurely round trip with a bit of time to stop and smell the (wild) roses.  All trips described start from refuge headquarters.

  • South Valley Road

    South road 150

    South Valley Road runs along the base of the Centennial Mountains, generally following the fault line that created the mountains here. Once you arrive in Lakeview, you can drive a few miles east to enjoy many geologic and scenic sites along the way. Look at the sedimentary layers that make up Taylor and Sheep Mountains. Even though these mountains are only two million years old, the layers that make them are over 500 million years old.  Click  on LEARN MORE for Google Map of this trip. MILEAGE (one-way):  9 miles  Estimated Time (RT): 1 hour

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  • Refuge Loop

    Brundage Lane Bridge

    An interesting loop drive after the refuge has dried out (usually by middle of June), is to leave the visitor center and drive east along the South Valley road, and turn left at Elk Lake Road. Turn left again at North Valley Road. Travel along the sand dunes and turn south onto Brundage Lane and cross the Red Rock River on Brundage Bridge, and then east again on South Valley Road. Look for pronghorn, moose, hawks, wildflowers, grand vistas, Red Rock Creek and Red Rock River.  MILEAGE (loop): 45 miles  Estimated Time: 3 hours

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  • Elk Lake

    Elk Lake 150

    Elk Lake itself is just off the refuge but is part of the geologic, hydrolic and wildlife story of the refuge. The drive takes you through a lot of the eastern part of the refuge. Drive from the visitor center, turn on Elk Lake Road and continue to Elk Lake. Look for moose, ducks, eagles, hawks and beautiful lake and mountain scenery. MILEAGE (one way): 17 miles Estimated Time (RT): 2.5 hours

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  • Picnic Springs

    Picnic Springs 1 150

    Culver Pond is fed by Picnic Springs on the east. Two springs feed 48 degree Fahrenheit water continuously. This drive passes Widgeon Pond, and into some of the more historic parts of the refuge. Recommend: high clearance 4WD. MILEAGE: (one-way) 16 miles Estimated Time (RT): 2.5 hours 

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  • Lower Lake

    Lower Red Rock Lake 150

    Lower Lake is a scenic area with an ample opportunity for bird watching. There are three side roads that make up this trip, one to the water control structure, a second to the River Marsh campground and a third to the middle boat ramp. MILEAGE (one-way): 8 miles, Estimated Time (RT): 1.5 hours

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  • Idlewild

    Moose Idlewild 150

    A short trip west on South Valley Road to get an overview of Lower Lake across from Baldy Mountain then to the south side of Lower Lake as an opportunity for viewing moose and bird watching. MILEAGE: 2.5 miles, Estimated Time: 1.5 hours

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  • Sand Dunes

    Sand Dune Sign 150

    Sand Dunes are part of the geologic story at the refuge. The North Valley Road runs through these partially vegetated sand dunes created by hundreds of years of northwest winds. A sign proclaims their location and geologic history. Look for hawks, wildflowers, pronghorn. MILEAGE (one-way): 17 miles, Estimated time (RT): 2 hours

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  • Hell Roaring Creek/Alaska Basin

    Hellroaring Creek 150

    Although outside the refuge, this trip explores open sagebrush areas with many hawks, and birds. In addition, this area features Red Rock Creek, willows, expansive views of both east and west Centennial Mountains, and a visit to Hell-Roaring creek, the ultimate source of the mighty Missouri River.  Most lands south of South Valley Road in Alaska Basin are privately owned, please respect their rights.  MILEAGE (one way): 16 miles, Estimated time (RT): 2 hours

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