Frequently Asked Questions

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Where is Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge located?  
The refuge is situated just east of Interstate 25 midway between Albuquerque and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Socorro is the nearest city. Get detailed directions to plan your visit and see the map here

When is the refuge open 
The auto tour loop and nature trails are open every day of the year from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. To plan your visit, get more information on hours of operation and entrance fees. Be sure to check the Refuge Rules & Regulations

Is there a fee to visit the refuge?
There is an entrance fee for the Auto Tour Loop; learn more about entrance fees here.

When is the best time to visit the refuge?
Visit our Seasons of Wildlife page for information on the refuge’s wildlife arranged by season. 

When is the best time to visit and observe sandhill cranes?
Typically, sandhill cranes are easily found at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge from mid November to mid February.  

Where is the water? 

Most of New Mexico is currently experiencing a drought, including Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. This will impact the amount of water and where it is located on the refuge.

What wildlife could I observe during my visit?
Depending on the season, a variety of wildlife may be observed! Check out our Wildlife and Habitat page for more information about the wildlife of Bosque del Apache. Check out recent bird observations at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, powered by eBird. 

Are guided tours available

From December through February, guided tours are usually offered.  Please check the Guided Tours Website for more details or contact the refuge.

Can I ride my bicycle on the refuge?
Bicycling routes vary by season and have designated trails and roads. Learn more about bicycling opportunities.

Are dogs allowed on the refuge?
To ensure that you and your pet enjoy a safe visit, follow all pet regulations while inside the refuge. The refuge is truly a wild place.  Wildlife may be drawn to pets and their owners and pets who wander away might not be found. To protect your pet and wildlife, please follow these regulations.

Can I bring and release wildlife on the refuge?
Releasing any animal (wildlife or unwanted pets) on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is illegal and subject to a fine. 

Can I feed the animals?
Please do not feed the wildlife. The digestive systems of wild animals are adapted to food found in nature and human food could cause them to become ill. When fed, wildlife might also become bold and aggressive. Never approach a wild animal no matter how “friendly” it appears. Note, it is illegal to feed wildlife on the refuge and subject to a fine.

Are snacks and soft drinks available on the refuge?
Light snacks may be available in the Nature Store. You may wish to bring your own light lunch. A water bottle refill station is available inside the visitor center, when the visitor center is open. You also have the option to purchase carry-out lunch from San Antonio's store or one of the restaurants. You are welcome to use the picnic area in the Pavilion in the visitor center complex.

Can I camp on the refuge?
The refuge is not open to camping. The nearest towns to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge with camping facilities are San Antonio, New Mexico and Socorro, New Mexico.

When was the refuge established?  
1939.

How big is the refuge
57,331 acres.

Why was the refuge established

To provide habitat and protection for migratory birds and endangered species and provide the public with a high quality wildlife and educational experience. Read more about our history here.