Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we encourage you to:

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information
  • Follow current CDC safe practices by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick


  • Show phone from "Get Smart" Television Series

    Refuge Phones Are Out

    The refuge's Visitor Center phone line is out or intermittent. An alternate contact number for inquiries is: 575-420-4304.

  • Refuge Fact Sheet Map

    Refuge Map Showing Visitor Access

    Map of Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge visitor areas and scenic routes showing trails, overlooks, observation blind, and lakes.

    Refuge Visitor Access Map

  • Threatened status Pecos orange sunflower / USFWS

    Temporarily Closing Visitor Center

    . . . to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, and you--our friends and neighbors.

    Agency's COVID-19 Announcement Letter

  • Killdeer plover / © Bernadette Madison, USFWS

    eBird Observation Entries

    Find out what birds are being seen at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, including the most recent sightings.

    eBird Daily Observations

For Our Refuge Visitors

Refuge Trails Open to the Public

Sunrise on Refuge Lake / © Bernadette Madison

View the Refuge's Visitor Access Map, linked below. The Refuge lands are open to the public, even though our Visitor Center remains closed due to COVID-19 pandemic. The map shows our visitor trails, overlook observation areas, auto tour road, and lakes. The Refuge is open every day from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. The tour road is open daily.

Refuge Visitor Access Map

Agency Precautions to COVID

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announcement: Keeping with guidance from the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and acting out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily suspending (closing) operations of the Visitor Center at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. We are committed to doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, and you--our friends and neighbors. Therefore, planned Refuge events and programs may not take place as scheduled. Refuge lands, including nature trails and outdoor recreational activities, remain open and accessible to the public. Please visit refuge information kiosks or brochure boxes for visitor information and refuge maps. We apologize for any inconvenience and will provide updates as they become available. More information is available by calling 575-420-4304 or emailing

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge's Fall - Winter Hunting Season Now Open

Current 2020-2021 Hunting Season Began September 1st

Waterfowl female hunter / USFWS

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge's current 2020-2021 hunting season is open beginning September 1, 2020 through February 15, 2021. The Refuge's hunting season offers opportunities for a variety of game birds, water fowl, and mammal species including deer, feral hog and rabbit. Specific dates and mandatory Bag limits apply for each allowed hunting species. View all this fall - winter hunting season's information on the Refuge's Visitor Activities - Hunting page.

Refuge's Visitor Activities - Hunting Page

Alternate Phone # for Incoming Calls

Refuge Experiencing Intermittent Phone Outages

Alternate communication - Maxwell Smart with his shoe phone

The refuge has encountered recurring telephone outages. Communication services to facilities, including the refuge' Visitor Center has been intermittent. We regret this inconvenience and request that you please call 575-420-4304 for any visitor and business office inquiries. Updates will be posted when telephone services are restored.

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