Visitor Activities

Opening day of fishing on Lake 13/Aaron Mize

Come to the Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy wildlife-dependent recreation and education.

  • Fishing

    Lucky catch at fishing/Aaron Mize

    The refuge's Lake 13 is a popular fishing site.  Species to be fished are:  rainbow trout, channel catfish, yellow perch, and largemouth bass.  The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish stocks the Lake with hatchery-reared rainbow trout, and between March 1 and October 31 you are invited to try your luck.  Boats may be used at trolling speed only on Lake 13.  A boat launch area is available on Lake 13 depending on lake levels.  Be sure to stop at the entrance kiosk for current regulations that apply by New Mexico State and the U.S. Coast Guard.

    There is No Fishing at Lake 14.

  • Birding

    House Finch-Carpodacus mexicanus/Bennette Jenkins

    Birders and wildlife watchers can challenge themselves by attempting to check off all 289 species of birds found on the refuge.  The link below shows the refuge's most recent bird list (2015).  American kestrels, wild turkeys, and Wilson's phalaropes are a few of the common species you will enjoy seeing on Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge.

    Learn More

  • Camping

    Camper at Lake 13/Bennette Jenkins

    Fishermen and wildlife watchers are invited to use the primitive camping area located adjacent to Lake 13 between March 1 and October 31.  Vault toilets can be found at the entrance road to the lake.  Be sure to come fully prepared as no facilities are provided.  Please limit your stay to no more than three consecutive nights.  Parking or staging unattended vehicles is prohibited.

  • Wildlife Watching

    American Beaver-Castor canadensis/Leann Wilkins

    Mid-October on the refuge is generally the peak fall migration of sandhill cranes, geese and ducks.  However, any time of year you are likely to see a diversity of wildlife.  Wildlife watching is generally best during the morning and at dusk when wildlife are most active.

    Learn More
  • Environmental Education

    Educational presentation/Leann Wilkins

    The refuge offers educational tours to school groups. Teachers are encouraged to reserve a tour date at least three weeks in advance.  There are no fees for the tours, which can be scheduled with the visitor services manager at number (505) 425-3581, ext. 205.  Check back to this site as we hope to offer curriculum-based environmental education programs in the future.

  • Interpretation

    Red-tailed Hawk-Buteo jamaicensis/Bennette Jenkins

    Learn about the refuge and its amazing wildlife at various locations, including the Visitor Center, Lake 13, and on the refuge tour loop with additional observation sights that highlight resource management and wildlife activities.

  • Visitor Center

    Visitor Center L Wilkins 150 X 118

    This is where you can get helpful information from refuge staff, as well as where the business operations of the refuge is conducted.  Enjoy the information and displays in the Visitor Center and be sure to bring your National Wildlife Refuge System Blue Goose Passport Book and have it stamped!  The Visitor Center hours are predominantly 7:30 AM to 4 PM Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Due to a smaller staff, our refuge office and Visitor Center may be closed during some of these hours, when employees are in the field. You may call (575) 375-2331, Ext. 200, before coming to the refuge to see if the Visitor Center will be open.