Visitor Activities


Special activities such as requests for scouting events, bass tournaments, group/school tours or public speaking requests are generally arranged by contacting the refuge manager.

  • Hunting

    Limited sport hunting is permitted on portions of the refuge in accordance with Idaho and Federal hunting regulations. The refuge is closed to all hunting when the Idaho waterfowl season is closed, except for acrhery elk hunting in the East Hunt Unit south of the Snake River. To find out more about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations on Minidoka NWR, contact the refuge manager

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  • Fishing

    Refuge waters include Lake Walcott, the reservoir behind Minidoka Dam (11,000 acres, of which 4,000 acres are open to boating at certain times); Snake River, in the spillway area below Minidoka Dam (60 acres); and Smith Springs and Gifford Springs boating lanes (80 and 200 acres, respectively). Boating on Lake Walcott is permitted April 1-October 31 within the area designated by buoys. Boating within the Smith Springs and Gifford Springs boating lanes is permitted year-round. Fishing from float tubes is permitted throughout Lake Walcott year-round. Bank fishing is also permitted year-round. Available species include rainbow trout and smallmouth bass. Stay on designated access roads to protect fragile sagebrush-grassland habitat.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Visitors are welcome at Minidoka NWR year round. However, public uses may be limited at times in certain places to protect wildlife.

    The refuge provides good opportunities to view wildlife. Vehicle travel is limited, but access roads provide vantage points over the reservoir. Some are suitable only for high clearance vehicles. Four-wheel drive is necessary on unimproved roads during wet/snowy weather.

    Look for a variety of songbirds in Lake Walcott State Park and at the Tule Island access near the Cold Water Interchange. The spillway area below the dam and the Snake River are good viewing areas. A bird checklist is available at refuge headquarters or on the internet.

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  • Interpretation

    Refuge System interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world.  From self-guided walks to ranger-led programs, many national wildlife refuges help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat behind the landscapes.

  • Environmental Education

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources.  Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities.

    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of a particular national wildlife refuge?  Contact the Minidoka refuge manager at 208-436-3589 to check on program availability. Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!

  • Photography

    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. You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started. A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

    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 to record their outdoor adventures!

  • Hiking

    Lake Walcott State Park offers approximately 5 miles of paved trails and roads to hike and observe birds and other wildlife. A 1.2 mile "natural" trail begins behind the interpretive kiosk at the east end of the boat ramps within the state park, the trail leads out along the shore of Lake Walcott. This trail provides benches for resting and enjoying nature as well as interpretive signs to learn about the local area and wildlife. Foot access is allowed anytime throughout the refuge.

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