Visitor Activities

  • Hunting

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    Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that the National Refuge System recognizes as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciation of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.  At Grand Cote National Wildlife Refuge hunting does not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management. An Annual Public Use permit is required.

    Permits are available online, in person or by mail. 

    ONLINE – to purchase an Annual Public Use Permit online, visit this website 

    IN PERSON – Permits are available at the refuge headquarters and at various sales outlets. 
    Call the refuge office for more information.   

    MAIL – Mail your request along with a $20.00 money order to Kinsail Corporation,
    Attn: Lake Ophelia  Annual Public Use Permit, PO Box 1092, McLean VA 22101. 

     To find out more about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations, please check out our current Hunting Regulations or visit the Grand Cote Visitor Center or Refuge Office.

  • Fishing

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    In addition to the conservation of wildlife and habitat, the Refuge System offers a wide variety of quality fishing opportunities.  Fishing programs promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on all lands and waters in the Refuge System.  Every year, about 7 million anglers visit national wildlife refuges, where knowledgeable staff and thousands of volunteers help them have a wonderful fishing experience.

    Quality fishing opportunities are available on more than 270 national wildlife refuges.

    For a great place to reconnect with a favorite childhood activity or to try it for the first time, make plans to fish at a national wildlife refuge soon.  Find more information with our on-line Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuge.

    At Grand Cote NWR, sport fishing is permitted year-round in Coulee Des Grues along Little California Road.

    Fishing must be in accordance with State and refuge regulations.
    Refuge anglers must obtain and possess a Refuge Special Recreational Activity Permit.

  • Wildlife Viewing

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    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to your nearest national wildlife refuge!  From birding to whale watching, from viewing speedy pronghorn antelope or slow-moving box turtles, wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge visitors.

    From every state and all parts of the globe, about 40 million people visit each year, especially for the chance to see concentrations of wildlife and birds.  The National Wildlife Refuge System’s extensive trail system, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting and photography blinds, fishing piers and boat launches encourage visitors to discover America’s best wildlife spectacles.  For more information about wildlife observation opportunities at Grand Cote NWR, contact

    Grand Cote National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to view and photograph a variety of wildlife, including waterfowl, deer, small mammals, amphibians and birds.

    The fall and spring migrations bring numerous songbirds and wading birds to the refuge.

  • Interpretation

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    Refuge System interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world.  From self-guided walks to ranger-led programs, many national wildlife refuges help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat behind the landscapes.

    In addition to staff and volunteers presenting programs to audiences, refuges use a variety of exhibits, signs, brochures, and electronic media to communicate natural history stories to visitors.  Printed and virtual information is often available on many topics, including plants and animals, seasonal migrations, habitats, refuge management strategies, and endangered species.

    Interpretive programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the dynamic world of Grand Cote National Wildlife Refuge. A variety of signs and brochures are available for you to learn more about the refuge’s natural and cultural history. There are currently no scheduled interpretive programs offered at Grand Cote National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Environmental Education

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    Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor classrooms – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities. There are currently no scheduled environmental education programs at Grand Cote National Wildlife Refuge.

    Lesson plans and additional materials about Environmental Education, as well as tips for teachers and how to schedule a refuge visit are available here . . .

  • Photography

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    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list.  Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.  We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive! 

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started. A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors. There are numerous photographic opportunities along the Mark Dupuy Trail

    Be on the lookout for wading birds, turtles, alligators, etc. as you drive along the refuge road.

  • Nature Trails

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    "In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks” – John Muir

    There are many opportunities to enjoy wildlife observation and photography opportunities on Grand Cote National Wildlife Refuge. One of the best ways to view wildlife is to take a walk on the Mark Dupuy Hiking Trail

    The Mark Dupuy Hiking Trail 
    Mark Dupuy trail is an approximate 1.0 mile hiking trail. This scenic trail winds through the flooded topography typical of Grand Cote NWR. Benches and interpretive signs are provided. Vehicles may park near the trailhead located in front of the Refuge Headquarters building. This trail allows foot traffic only.


    To ensure that all visitors have an opportunity to enjoy the hiking trails, please follow these guidelines:

    • Leave all plants for others to enjoy
    • Keep all pets on a leash
    • Bicycles are not allowed on the trails
    • Motorized vehicles of any kind are not allowed on the trails
    • Do not litter. Pack it in, pack it out
    • To see more wildlife, be as quiet as possible
    • Insect repellent is advised spring through fall
    • Be aware of snakes during warm weather