Frequently Asked Questions

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge landscape view/Bennette Jenkins


When was Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge established?  1965.

How big is it?  3,700 acres.

Why is it here?  The refuge was established as a feeding and resting area for migratory birds.  It hosts several thousand ducks, geese, swans and sandhill cranes from September to March.

What can I do there?
 You can visit the refuge and learn about the wildlife it supports as well as enjoy wildlife-dependent activities like wildlife watching and photography, fishing, and special events hosted throughout the year. 

Where is it?
 The refuge is located in the great plains of northeastern New Mexico surrounded by high mesas to the east and northeast and to the west by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Please see the Maps Page and our Driving Directions Page for more details.

What do I need to bring?
  You might need water, sunscreen, insect repellent (depending on the time of year), layered clothing, fishing gear, binoculars/spotting scopes, cameras, and field guides (especially for birds).  * Note:  The closest source of food and beverages are in the towns of Maxwell, Raton, Springer, and Cimarron all of which are about 30 minutes away.  

Can I bring my dog?
  Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash and under control at all times. Do not leave your dog in your vehicles as we have extreme temperatures throughout the year.  

Do you allow horses/ATV’s/Off Road Vehicles on the refuge?
  The refuge does not allow horses, ATV’s, or Off Road Vehicles.

Is hunting allowed on the refuge?
 No, hunting is not allowed and violators will be prosecuted.

I caught a raccoon/squirrel/goose at my house.  Can I let it go at the refuge?
 It is illegal to release any animal, wild or domestic, on any national wildlife refuge.  We recommend you contact the State of New Mexico Department of Game and Fish office, located in Raton, New Mexico, at (575) 445-2311. 

How can I get a job with the National Wildlife Refuge System?
  All federal jobs, including those with Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge, are announced and can be applied for at the United States Office of Personnel Management website:  This is the Federal Government’s official one-stop source for Federal jobs and employment information.

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge's current 2017 Fact Sheet.

National Wildlife Refuge System -- FAQs