Visitor Activities

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Birders on the refuge - USFWS.

    The refuge abuts the northeastern edge of the ‘Northern Maine Forest’, an expanse of land encompassing millions of acres of forestland in northern Maine. The area is well known for its abundance of boreal bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian and rare plant species. Boreal chickadees, spruce grouse, black-backed woodpeckers, blackburnian and bay breasted warblers, hermit thrush and many other migratory songbirds can be seen and heard in the forest of the refuge. Waterfowl, ruffed grouse, American woodcock, northern goshawk and bald eagle are commonly observed. A variety of mammals such as moose, white-tailed deer, snowshoe hare, beaver, lynx, river otter, mink, ermine and coyote occur on the refuge.

    The refuge maintains two wildlife viewing blinds and offers 13 miles of designated hiking trails for opportunities to observe wildlife. From the Refuge Headquarters visitors can access the Lima Trail, East Loring Trail, Durepo Loop Trail and the Beaver Pond Trail. The Swamp Road, Spruce Hill Trail, Powerline Trail, Loop Trail, Green Pond Trail and 13 Beaver Trail are accessed from the Chapman Trailhead off of the West Gate Road.

    On the trails, you will discover the diversity of wildlife and the habitats they depend on through the different landscapes including streams, ponds, vernal pools, emergent marshes, shrub-lands, upland forests and grasslands.

    Refuge staff, volunteers and partners provide viewing opportunities through bird walks, owl surveys, vernal pool walks, and woodcock surveys.

    You can drive or walk along our three mile auto tour route, which offers open vista opportunities to observe a variety of species. You can pull over for viewing along the drive any time, but please remain in your car until you reach designated parking areas. The auto tour offers great birding and photography opportunities.


    To Learn more about the Auto Tour Route


    Download the bird brochure (pdf)

  • Canoeing / Kayaking

    East Loring Lake - USFWS.

    Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge offers exceptional canoeing and kayaking opportunities along the Little Madawaska River in Connor, Maine. The river provides visitors with 3.5 miles of undisturbed solitude. The refuge is currently designing a boat launch that will enable visitors to easily launch small boats onto the river. Water levels in the river fluctuate seasonally.

    Please be advised that on the refuge’s southern boundary there is a dam located on the Little Madawaska River that must be portaged!

  • Cross-country Skiing / Snowshoeing

    Cross-country skier - USFWS.

    Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge grooms over seven miles of trails from November through April. The trails are groomed for both Nordic and skate skiing. Snowshoers are welcomed on the trails, but asked to remain off of the set Nordic track.

  • Interpretation

    Interpretive event on the refuge - USFWS.

    The refuge staff, volunteers and partners conduct interpretation programs and activities to inform and remind our visitors about issues and opportunities including bird migration, seasonal habitat changes, invasive species, management activities and special events.

  • Environmental Education

    Interpretive sign on the refuge - USFWS.

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as an outdoor classroom to teach about wildlife and natural resources. Many refuges offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences. Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities. Youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.

    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge? Contact the Refuge Headquarters to check on program availability and reservation policies (207-328-4634). Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!

  • Photography

    Photo blind on the refuge - USFWS.

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. That's not surprising, considering the popularity of the digital camera and the increasing photography abilities of cell phone. You don't need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started. A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors. 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 wildlife observation blinds, 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 to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive!

    You can photograph refuge landscapes and wildlife from any area open to the public. Many photographers find success along the Auto Tour Route, the wildlife observation blinds, and for the more adventurous, on the many miles of trails.