Plan Your Visit

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The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is located along the lower Detroit River and western shoreline of Lake Erie, 20 miles south of Detroit and 50 miles north of Toledo, Ohio in Wayne and Monroe counties. The Refuge’s boundary stretches along 48 miles of Detroit River and the western Lake Erie shoreline. The Refuge consists of more than 6,000 acres divided into 19 separate units located in Wayne and Monroe counties. Several of these units are managed under cooperative management agreements between the refuge and outside landowners. 

Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge provides a variety of wildlife-dependent recreation activities to the public including: environmental education, interpretation, wildlife observation and photography, hunting, and fishing. While some sections of the Refuge are currently closed to public access, others welcome recreational use. 

Refuge offices are located at the new John D. Dingell Jr. Visitor Center at the Refuge Gateway adjacent to the Humbug Marsh Unit. The Refuge Gateway and Humbug Marsh units are open for public use seven days a week, during daylight hours. The Visitor Center is closed due to rising COVID levels in our area.

 Reach us by email or connect with individual staff via our staff directory. 

Refuge Units Open to Public Access Year Round

GIBRALTAR BAY, HUMBUG MARSH, FIX, REFUGE GATEWAY, and STRONG Units are open daily from from dawn to dusk. Please note that these unit trails are NOT open to motorized vehicles.

Gibraltar Bay Unit 

The Gibraltar Bay Unit was once used as a D-51 Nike Missile site. The upland part of the site was decommissioned and seeded with native grasses and wildflowers to benefit pollinating insects. A shoreline habitat project introduced a number of native plants to benefit wildlife. This bay is important for bass, pike, and long-nose gar and is well known for its ice-fishing. Amenities include 1.5 miles of hiking trails, a photo blind, two observation overlooks, and a spotting scope to view wildlife on the bay.

Location is at 28820 East River Rd, Grosse Ile, MI.  

Fix Unit  

The Fix Unit is mostly former agricultural land which is now fallow and is managed to support waterfowl and shorebirds. A series of water control structures seasonally floods the fields to provide habitat, and also supports flood control along the river. The eastern section of this unit has wet prairie community. The stacks of the Fermi II Nuclear Plant can be seen from the unit. Visitors are welcome to hike the dike tops while looking for wildlife. This flat, easy hike is approximately 1.5 miles out and back.

From I-75, take Exit 21 (Swan Creek Rd.) east to North Dixie Hwy.
• Turn right (south) and take North Dixie Hwy. to Post Rd.
• Turn left (east) and take Post Rd. about 1 mile to Leroux Rd.
• Turn right (southwest) and take Leroux Rd. to Langton Rd.
• Turn left (southeast) and take Langton Rd. to Toll Rd./Fisher St.
• Turn left (northeast) and follow to Fix Unit.
• Parking area is on left. 

Strong Unit    

 
The 204-acre Strong Unit contains emergent wetland, a former shoreline ridge of swamp white oak trees, and a large wet prairie. The southern 36 acres is a mix of hardwood swamp and a 17-acre former soybean field that has been been seeded with native wildflowers and grasses to benefit pollinating insects and other wildlife.  There are no hiking trails within the unit; public use is primarily for hunting access. However, in the spring and summer months the parking lot is a great place to watch nesting ospreys on the platform to the south.
 
• From I-75, take Exit 21 (Swan Creek Rd.) east to North Dixie Hwy.
• Turn left (northeast) and take North Dixie Hwy/US Turnpike to Port Sunlight Rd.  
• Turn right (south) and follow Port Sunlight Rd. about 1 mile to the Strong Unit. 
• Parking area is on left.
• Boat access is available from Lake Erie. 

Humbug Marsh Unit 

The Humbug Marsh Unit is a hotspot of biodiversity in an urban landscape. Located along the Detroit River , straddling both Trenton and Gibraltar Michigan, this site is the last undeveloped mile of the Detroit River on the U.S. side of the border. It was designated as a "Wetland of International Importance" by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 2010. Step into the Humbug Marsh Unit and your senses come alive. Humbug is primarily forested, with a unique mosaic of oaks, shagbark hickory, ash, and elm forest growing on small ridges above the river, overlooking productive wetlands and the beautiful Humbug Island. Three-miles of hiking trails wind through the unit, with interpretive signs and viewpoints to help visitors to enjoy and appreciate this unique and peaceful urban refuge.

The Refuge Gateway property is adjacent to the 410 acre Humbug Marsh. This former industrial manufacturing site has been remediated and restored as an ecological buffer for the river and wetlands, and a productive greenspace for people and wildlife. The refuge offices and John D. Dingell Jr. Visitor Center are open Thursday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Refuge Gateway is open seven days a week during daylight hours and includes a world-class fishing pier, greenway trails and a kayak and canoe launch.
Located at 5437 West Jefferson Avenue, Trenton, MI.

Know Before You Go

Visitors are welcome to visit the refuge units which are open to public access seven days a week during daylight hours. The Visitor Center is open Thursday - Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

The refuge is closed at night.  

Refuge hunting season is open from September 1 – May 31. All refuge hunting seasons coincide with state hunting seasons. For authorized hunting, the refuge is open 1½ hours before legal shooting time to 1 hour after legal shooting time.