Visitor Activities


Roads that encircle the refuge provide access to stunning views of the marsh and surrounding mountains. Hiking is allowed on the Bear Island trail and in the public hunting area to the north of Bear Island from September 20-March 31, see map for details. 


  • Hunting


    Hunting for ducks, geese, coots, and mergansers is permitted in designated areas, and in accordance with all state and federal regulations. Approved non-toxic shot is required. Hunters should consult the Idaho state hunting regulations. Special refuge regulations may also apply, contact the manager for more information at 208-574-2755.

  • Wildlife Viewing


    Moose, deer and occasionally elk can be seen in the Grays Lake area. Birding is popular through spring and summer, nearly 200 species have been recorded on the refuge. The public roads that encircle the refuge provide good vantage points for viewing wildlife on the refuge and on adjacent lands.

  • Photography

    Yellow headed black bird

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography.  That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  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.

    The overlook adjacent to Refuge Headquarters is open to the public May 1 - November 15. This site is a good point to get an expansive look at the refuge and a distant view of wildlife. Binoculars and spotting scopes are recommended.

  • Hiking and Winter Activities

    Winter activities

    Hiking is allowed on the Bear Island trail and  in the north half of the refuge September 20 - March 31. Permission should be obtained from landowners before crossing private land to enter some open portions of the refuge. Please leave all gates as you find them. Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing can be an enjoyable activity at the refuge. Use areas and dates are the same as those for hiking.