Plan Your Visit

For a safe and enjoyable Refuge visit, please familiarize yourself with the following.

To Know Before You Go!

Access and Hours

  • The Refuge is open daily during daylight hours.
  • The Visitor Center is open weekdays from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and Saturdays from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M, except on Federal holidays.
  • Access is allowed through designated accesses only. 
  • All motorized vehicles, including all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs), are restricted to county roads. 
  • Park only in designated parking areas.
  • Access for disabled visitors:
    • An accessible fishing dock is available on the west end of the Upper Dam from mid-April through September. 
    • The Centennial Trail is an accessible interpretive trail from the Visitor Center to and across the Upper Dam. 
    • Access difficulty elsewhere varies. Disabled visitors should consult refuge staff (208-467-9278) for suggestions about visiting the area safely.

General Refuge Regulations

Visitor Activities 

Refuge visitors can enjoy a variety of year-round outdoor activities. Find out more about specific activities, including wildlife-watching and photography, hunting, fishing, environmental education, and interpretation as well as boating, swimming, picnicking, and more. 


Lake Water Levels

Lake Lowell is an irrigation reservoir, so the water level varies with irrigation needs and climatic conditions. Current water level 



  • There is no Refuge entrance fee.
  • Fees are charged for activities like bass tournaments and use of the Visitor Center auditorium. Contact the Refuge at if you have questions.

Area Weather

The regional climate is arid to semi-arid. Annual precipitation is on average eleven inches, with most precipitation falling as winter snow and spring rain. Summer months are dry, sunny, and warm. Winter months are cool, but mild in comparison to the surrounding mountains.

Find out the current weather conditions.

Visitor Facilities

Visitor Center

The best place to start your visit to Deer Flat is at the Refuge Visitor Center where you can pick up a refuge brochure, view wildlife from the observation room, enjoy hands-on activities in KidSpace, borrow a digital camera and do a photography scavenger hunt, or learn from interpretive displays. The Visitor Center is open weekdays from 8 AM to 4 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM to 4 PM except on Federal holidays.

Getting to the Refuge Visitor Center
  • Take Exit 33 off of I-84.
  • After exiting the freeway, head west on Highway 55/Karcher Road.
  • Follow Karcher Road about 3.5 miles to Lake Avenue.
  • Turn left onto Lake Avenue and drive about 2.5 miles to the intersection with Roosevelt Avenue.
  • Turn right onto Roosevelt Avenue.
  • At Indiana Avenue at the top of the hill, turn left into the refuge and follow the road to the Visitor Center

Warning: GPS and online directions to the Visitor Center address are not always correct. Use the directions above or find directions to the intersection of Roosevelt and Indiana.

Boat Ramps

Lake Lowell Unit


Snake River Islands Unit

The 104 Refuge Islands in the Snake River are distributed from the Canyon-Ada County line in Idaho to Farewell Bend in Oregon. Boat ramps to access these islands are available at the upstream to downstream locations listed below. 


  • Celebration Park, ID. Follow signs from Highway 45 
  • Walter's Ferry, ID. Where Highway 45 crosses the river
  • Bernard's Ferry, ID. About 5 miles west of Walter's Ferry on Highway 78
  • Marsing, ID. Where Highway 55 crosses the river
  • Homedale, ID. About a half mile west of Highway 95
  • Adrian Bridge, OR. Unimproved ramp about one mile east of Highway 201
  • Fort Boise, ID. Inside the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area
  • Nyssa, OR
  • Ontario State Park, OR. At the Highway 201 exit off of I-84
  • Centennial Park, Payette, ID
  • Roberts Landing, ID. Follow signs off of Highway 95
  • Weiser, ID. Unimproved ramp about one mile west of Highway 95 on River Road
  • Farewell Bend State Park, OR. Follow signs off of I-84.


Where to Stay

Lodging is available in Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho. Listings are available through the Nampa Chamber of Commerce at (208) 466-4641 and Caldwell Chamber of Commerce. Telephones, gas and supplies are available year-round in Nampa and Caldwell.