Visitor Activities

Visitor Activities
  • Wildlife Viewing

    Viewing Wildlife

    The Platte River Trail takes you through prairie, woodland, riverine and wetland habitats, where a variety of wildlife lives. Waterfowl, songbirds, sandhill cranes, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and more may be seen as you hike along the trail. Two observation platforms along the way help you get a closer look at wildlife and beautiful scenery.

    Bird Checklist (PDF) 


  • Interpretation

    Interpreter with Hawk

    Follow signs with clues to help Carly Crane solve the mystery of her missing egg, as you walk a self-guided loop at the beginning of the Platte River Trail. Interpretive programs for schools and other groups, as well as guided walks, may be offered throughout the spring, summer and fall. Contact the refuge or Friends of Crane Meadows for more information. 

    For current and upcoming events, visit our Event Schedule.

  • Hunting

    Young Hunter with Turkey

    The refuge provides hunting opportunities for small game, migratory birds, turkey and white-tailed deer in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws, and subject to special refuge regulations.

    A fall white-tailed deer hunt is offered to persons with disabilities. Dates of the hunt will vary from year to year, but it will typically be held during the first weeks in October and each hunter will be assigned a blind. Options, Inc. conducts the selection process for the hunt. Information can be obtained by calling Complex Headquarters at (763) 389-3323.

    Refuge Hunting Regulations and Map

    Minnesota Hunting Regulations

    The refuge encourages deer hunters to consider using lead free ammunition while hunting. Research has found that lead pieces left behind in the gut piles of deer are dangerous and even deadly to the eagles and other wildlife that eat them. Learn more at

  • Environmental Education

    Child in Bald Eagle Costume

    Classes and groups are invited to visit the refuge and use the Platte River Trail for self-led educational programs. Contact Nikki Ellingson at (763) 389-3323 ext 109 or for more information and trip planning assistance.

  • Photography

    Wildlife Photographer

    Birds and other wildlife may be photographed if you walk slowly and quietly along the Platte River Trail. The best time to see wildlife is in the morning, just after sunrise, or in the evening, before dusk. Wildflowers and scenery may be photographed anytime during daylight hours.

    Commercial still photography is allowed following refuge regulations and does not require a special use permit. Reference the Rules and Regulations page for specifics. All commercial filming requires a special use permit.

  • Fishing

    Kid Fishing

    Fishing is not allowed at Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.