Visitor Activities


Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the Refuge activities noted below. Any activities not mentioned below are prohibited due to to their incompatibility with the wildlife conservation mission and goals of the Refuge.

  • Hiking


    Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge offers public access to 2.6 miles of hiking trail. By staying on the trail, you will protect habitat, and you can enjoy all of the wildlife common to the Refuge. It is possible to hike all or portions of the system. The flat to gently sloping terrain makes it enjoyable for all hikers.

    The trail begins at the entrance gate parking area, loops to the shore of Creighton Lake, before heading off toward Lake George. There you will find a photography blind built by an Eagle Scout Candidate in 2013. Walk past the blind to the south side of Lake George and continue on to the northwest edge of Rush Lake before turning onto the dam between Rush and Hutton Lakes. At the northeast end of the dam is a roadway which takes you back to the trail by Creighton. You can either walk back on the roadway to the entrance, or take the Creighton portion of the trail back to your vehicle. There is also a short spur trail from the Rush/Hoge dam to the water control structure between Hoge and Hutton Lakes. This trail can also be accessed at the Lake George parking lot and the Rush Lake parking lot for those that want a shorter hike.  

  • Wildlife Viewing and Photography


    From birding to viewing speedy pronghorn, 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.

    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. 

    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.  

    Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of habitats.  The open-water wetlands, upland brush and grasslands, and alkali flats provide excellent opportunities to view and photograph waterfowl, other water birds, pronghorn, white-tailed prairie dogs, coyotes and many other species of wildlife. 

  • Hunting and Fishing

    National wildlife refuges across the country offer a variety of hunting and fishing opportunities. Please review our current hunting and fishing brochure for refuge specific information and regulations.