Plan Your Visit
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge provides numerous recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year.
- Refuge Headquarters Office – 8:00AM-4:30PM, weekdays
- Visitor Center/The Lodge Nature Store – Mid-March through November – 10:00AM-3:00PM, weekdays; 10:00AM-4:00PM, weekends (call ahead to be sure we’re open)
- Outdoor facilities (trails, observation areas) – ½ hour before sunrise – ½ hour after sunset; Esker Brook and South Spring Pool trails are closed annually November 1 – mid-December
Points of Interest
- The Visitor Center is mainly staffed by volunteers and contains exhibits, leaflets and brochures, live-action feed from an osprey nest-cam and a purple martin nest-cam, as well as restrooms. You may also borrow binoculars and Let’s Go Outside activity backpacks from the Visitor Center information desk. The Lodge Nature Store, run by the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, offers nature-themed gifts, clothing, books, and field guides. The Visitor Center’s lower viewing deck is equipped with a telescope to enhance your wildlife viewing.
- The 3.5 mile Wildlife Drive opens in April (weather-permitting) and closes for the winter once ice and snow create hazardous travel conditions. Snow, ice and poor road conditions generally keep the road closed during the winter and early spring months. Depending on the season, you will see waterfowl, herons and other marsh birds, Canada geese, bald eagle, osprey, harriers and other birds of prey, and shorebirds. You may also see muskrat, white-tailed deer, mink, fox or coyote.
- The Seneca Trail forms a one-mile loop from the Visitor Center parking area, around the refuge’s headquarters area. View the Main Pool from the observation tower or accessible viewing platform. Carry on along the Cayuga-Seneca Barge Canal as you walk through a young forest. May – June offers opportunities to spot cerulean warblers and other migrating songbirds. Winter is a great time to see and hear woodpeckers, particularly pileated woodpeckers. A portion of the Seneca Trail may be closed in the summer months to protect an osprey nesting area.
- Dock your boat at our seasonal floating dock along the Cayuga-Seneca Barge Canal, just north of the US Route 20 bridge and come ashore to visit the Seneca Trail, viewing areas, and Visitor Center/Lodge Nature Store.
- You can observe bald eagles year-round at Montezuma! Six active eagle nests and observations of nearly 60 eagles in the area at once tell of a healthy and growing bald eagle population on the refuge and throughout the region. Any observation area, as well as the Wildlife Drive, offers a chance to see both immature and adult bald eagles. Ask at the Visitor Center or call the refuge office for current hot-spots.
- The Esker Brook (including the Orchard, Brook, and Ridge trails) and South Spring Pool walking trails offer nearly 4 miles for you to get out and get moving! Migrating songbirds, three or more species of woodpeckers, waterfowl, hawks, herons, frogs, mink, and fish will enhance your walk. The terrain is easy to moderate; the trail surface is mostly natural so please wear sturdy, weather-appropriate shoes. Esker Brook Trails are located a short distance from New York State Route 89, on Gravel Road. The South Spring Pool Trail is located on New York State Route 89, just after Lay Road, and connects with the Esker Brook Trails at the Ridge Trail.
Last Updated: Nov 07, 2016