About the Refuge

About the Refuge

Download the Brochure and Map

Originally known as Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, the name was changed to Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge on January 11, 2017 in order to remove the derogatory word squaw from the name.

The refuge was established on August 23, 1935 as an Executive Order 7156 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a refuge feeding and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge includes 7,440 acres of wetlands, grasslands, and forests along the eastern edge of the Missouri River floodplain. Overlooking the refuge from the east, the loess bluffs habitat is a geological formation of fine silt deposited after the past glacial period. These unique hills stretch from about 30 miles south of St. Joseph, Missouri, to extreme northern Iowa. Some of the last parcels of native plants, remnants of a once vast native prairie, can be found here. Loess, pronounced “luss,” soils support Missouri’s native prairie plants such as Indian grass, big bluestem, blazing star, yucca, beard-tongue, and skeleton plant.

The refuge was officially named one of America’s top 500 Globally Important Bird Areas by the National Audubon Society in 2001. The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network designated the refuge a “Site of Regional Importance” in 2007.

Location and Directions
The refuge is located in northwest Missouri near Mound City. The refuge is 30 miles northwest of St. Joseph, Missouri, 100 miles north of Kansas City, Missouri, and 100 miles south of Omaha, Nebraska. Take Interstate 29 to Exit 79 just south of Mound City, Missouri then travel south 2 ½ miles on U.S. Highway 159.

Refuge Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 158
Mound City, Missouri 64470
(660) 442-3187 voice

Physical Address:
Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge
25542 US-159
Forest City, MO 64451

Email: LoessBluffs@fws.gov 

People with hearing impairments can reach Loess Bluffs NWR through the Federal Information Relay System at 1-800-877-8339.

Hours and Dates of Operation

Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge has temporarily changed its operations in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The refuge headquarters/visitor contact station will be closed until further notice. This closure follows guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health authorities. Updates will be posted to the refuge website and facebook page. 

In keeping with guidance from CDC and acting out of an abundance of caution, we are postponing all previously scheduled events and work days through the end of April. We will continue to monitor the situation and all relevant guidance. 

The refuge remains open daily from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. This includes the Wild Goose Auto Tour loop and refuge hiking trails. There is no charge to visit the refuge.