Visitor Activities

Woman walking in woods by FWS

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has temporarily changed its operations in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.  Visitor Centers are closed, but trails remain open sunrise to sunset daily.  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.

  • Walking and Hiking

    Overlook view 150x118

    The Refuge contains 46 miles of managed trails along the Minnesota River. Refuge trails are open sunrise to sunset 365 days a year. Dogs on 6-foot leashes are allowed to enjoy the trails with their owners.

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  • Bicycling

    Two people bicycling by FWS

    Bicycling is a popular way to enjoy the Refuge.  Refuge lands contain 46 miles of managed trails along the Minnesota River, and most are open to bicycling. Cyclists must remain on established trails at all times.  Refuge trails are open sunrise to sunset 365 days a year.

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  • Fishing


    Shore fishing and ice fishing are allowed on most Refuge waters.  All Minnesota state regulations pertaining to seasons, bag limits, and licensing apply.  Refuge-specific regulations, which may be more restrictive, will also be enforced.  

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  • Bird Watching

    Song Sparrow by Sara Giles

    Watching and learning about birds can start in your backyard, and the Refuge provides nearby nature to build your knowledge. Annually, over 200 species of birds can be found at the Refuge, with over 100 species nesting here.

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  • Photography

    Wildlife photography by USFWS

    One exciting way to experience your Refuge is through nature photography. Photography programs are often provided by staff and partners to help you build your skills, too.

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  • Hunting

    Duck hunter at sunrise by USFWS

    Select areas of the Refuge offer hunting opportunities during Minnesota state seasons, including opportunities for youth and people with disabilities.

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  • Foraging

    Morel mushroom by FWS

    Foragers may enjoy picking mushrooms or berries at the Refuge. There are limits to what you can take, and we recommend checking our regulations before your search.  Reminder: Some mushrooms and berries are poisonous - if you are unsure, don't eat!

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  • Wildlife Viewing

    wildlife viewing winter

    Spanning over 14,000 acres, and containing 46 miles of trails, the Refuge has a wide diversity of wildlife and plants, and provides many opportunities to view wildlife both on land and in the water.

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  • Nature Programs and Events


    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge provides a variety of public programs and special events throughout the year.  Programs and events are free, geared for youth and adults, and provide a range of opportunities that maximize first-hand experiences along the river and trails in the Refuge. For current programs, click the link below.

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  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education

    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge offers a wide diversity of  environmental education opportunities for schools, teachers, youth groups, and families.  For more information, click the link below.

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