Plan Your Visit

Crane on Dike

Visiting Bear Lake NWR

Getting here...

Plan your visit according to the season and time of day. Wildlife is generally more active in mornings and early evenings than in the afternoon.

Spring, summer and fall are good times to take advantage of the Refuge’s excellent viewing opportunities. The months of May and June are especially prime times to see a lot of wildlife activity including young Canada goose goslings scurrying to follow their mothers.

Often the best bet is to drive along the Wildlife Observation Route around the Salt Meadow Unit; there you should see a variety of waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds. You may hike on all refuge roads that are open to vehicle travel. Driving the roads that encircle the refuge provides broad vistas of habitat and good chances to see wildlife. Map

Your car is an excellent observation and photographic blind. Staying in your car will often avoid scaring wildlife and provide you with better viewing opportunities.

Use binoculars and spotting scopes to bring animals “closer” to you without disturbing them.

Binoculars, camera, insect repellant, bird identification books, water and a lunch will contribute to a pleasant visit.

Hiking is permitted on all roads open to vehicle travel. General hiking is permitted July 1 - January 20 in areas of the refuge marked on the map as seasonally open. 
The accessible walking trail is open March 15 - September 20.

Please respect the property rights of others. Permission should be obtained from adjacent landowners before crossing private land to enter open portions of the refuge.

Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Those who choose to enjoy the refuge in this manner are welcome. Use areas and dates are the same as those for hiking.

Vehicles and Parking
Use of any motorized vehicles and bicycles is permitted only on the roads and trails shown on the map in this brochure. You may park at any road’s edge in a manner that does not obstruct traffic or in designated parking areas. Refuge roads may be snowed in December to mid-March.

Boating for waterfowl hunting is permitted only in those areas shown as open to boating on the map in this brochure. Motorized and non-motorized boats may be used September 20 - January 15.

The Canoe Trail is open July 1 - September 20 for non-motorized boats only.

Pets must be leashed, except dogs used for hunting during waterfowl or upland hunts. Hunting dogs must be under the owner's control at all times.

Individuals may possess, carry and transport concealed, loaded and operable firearms on the refuge in accordance with all provisions of state and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32). Target shooting and sighting-in weapons are not permitted.

Prohibited Activities
No camping, overnight parking, fires, fireworks or collecting objects of antiquity, including Native American artifacts.

Area Services
The Bear Lake Valley has numerous services and accommodations available to visitors within a short driving distance. Further information may be obtained from the Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-448-2327, or