Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit

Directions, Address & Contact Info

Visitors to Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge may enjoy a 14 mile self-guided auto tour route with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. The refuge also has more than seven miles of hiking trails, ranging in length from one-quarter mile to two and a half miles. An observation deck overlooks 3,600-acre Rice Lake, where more than 70,000 ring-necked ducks and other waterfowl can be seen during the fall migration.

Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located in Aitkin County in east central Minnesota, about 5 miles south of the community of McGregor.

Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge
36289 State Hwy 65
McGregor, MN 55760

Phone: 218-768-2402
Fax: 218-768-3040


Points of Interest

Visitors should stop by the refuge headquarters to see educational displays and visit the nature store. Hours of operation are Mondays and Fridays, 8 am to 4 pm*. Due to a staff shortage, visitors may occasionally find the office closed for brief periods of time. The wildlife drive is open daily, from sunrise to sunset. During inclement weather, the refuge may be temporarily closed.

*As of 8/30/2021, wearing a mask is required in refuge headquarters, regardless of vaccination status.

Know Before You Go

When visiting, it is important to wear appropriate footwear for hiking and to dress for the weather. Consider bringing water, food, binoculars, field guides, a hat, sunscreen and anything else that might make the outdoor experience more enjoyable. Restrooms are provided on the refuge, but no drinking water is available.

Ticks are abundant from late May through early July. Mosquitoes and deer flies are abundant from June through August. Insect repellent and other precautions should be taken.

Black bears are occasionally seen at the refuge. If you encounter a bear on the trail, remain calm. You may be surprised to know that most bears fear people as much as you fear them and will flee when they hear or see you. If you see a bear that does not leave, make some noise and give it an easy escape route. Remember, seeing a black bear is an uncommon, yet memorable, experience!