Plan Your Visit

Barn owl up close

Refuge Recreation

Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge provides numerous recreation opportunities. Visitors enjoy viewing the forests, prairies and diverse wildlife, whether boating, driving or hiking. Regulation of recreation activities allow for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats

Roads throughout the refuge are graveled and visitors must maintain the posted speed limit. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only. No overnight parking is allowed on the refuge.

Hiking is allowed in all areas open to the public. Wildlife observation and photography are encouraged. Please stay out of closed areas to minimize disturbance to plants and animals. 

Fishing is allowed as per state regulations. Bank fishing is permitted in a designated areas. 

Outboard motor use is restricted to the westernmost 5 and 1/2 miles of the Marais des Cygnes River.  Non-motorized boats and electric trolling motors may be used on all open portions of the Refuge including the eastern 4 mile section of the Marais des Cygnes River. Boats with combustion engines may float through the restricted use portion of the river but engines must be turned off and propellers must be trimmed or otherwise raised above water at all times. Refuge property boundaries are located at the center of the River. Where sections of the river border private property, only half of the river adjacent to public property is open to public use. 

New requirement for all Refuge hunters as of September, 2015.  Please read the new hunt brochure.

Sport hunting is permitted on the refuge in accordance with all state and federal regulations. Hunters should consult the Kansas state and refuge hunting regulations.

Firearms and other weapons are subject to state law. At all times, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the refuge must comply with all provisions of state law. Firearms may only be discharged in accordance with refuge hunting regulations, i.e., only during the lawful pursuit of game during legal seasons.

Other prohibitions on the refuge are dogs off-leash; off-road vehicles; and collecting of plants, animals, minerals, antlers and artifacts.

For more general information about Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, questions about refuge recreation, or for a copy of the general Marais des Cygnes brochure, please contact the refuge office or stop by the kiosk in front of the office. 



For a listing of nearby sites of interest click here.