Frequently Asked Questions

When was Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge established? The Refuge was established in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Why is the purpose of the refuge? It was established as a "refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife."

How big is the refuge?  Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge is 39,926 acres, 17,000 of which is marsh and the remainder is meadows, grasslands, alkali playa, and shrub-steppe uplands.

Where does all the water come from?  Snow that falls in the Ruby Mountains seeps through layers of limestone rock tilted toward Ruby Valley.  Some of this water emerges from over 200 springs along the collection ditch and from within the marsh.  The largest of these springs is Cave Creek which emerges from the base of the mountains near the refuge headquarters and may be seen from a short trail along the creek.

What can I do here?  A wildlife refuge's primary purpose is to protect wildlife, however, wildlife-dependent recreation is allowed including waterfowl hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, photography, education and interpretation.

When can I see the biggest variety of birds on the Refuge?  Most species start migrating through the refuge by about late March and the parade of various species continues through late May.

When can baby birds be seen on the refuge?  Birds that nest on the refuge start hatching their young about mid-April (goslings) and continue through June (most ducklings).

Where is it?  The refuge is located in Northeastern Nevada.  Check out the map page for directions.

What facilities are available at the refuge?  Ruby Lake is fairly primitive with three composting restrooms, a driving tour, two boat landings, a viewing platform and a small visitor's center which is usually open weekdays between 7 am and 4 pm.  Learn more about amenities in Ruby Valley 

Are ATVs/UTVs allowed on the refuge?  ATV's and UTV's are not allowed on the refuge.  Where the county road passes through the refuge (767/Ruby Valley Road) access is according to county regulations

Is hunting allowed?  Waterfowl hunting is allowed on a portion of the refuge when waterfowl are in season.  Hunting, trapping, or collecting of all other animals is never allowed on the refuge.  White birds may not be hunted in Ruby Valley in order to protect the only resident population of Trumpeter Swans in Nevada.  Learn More 

 Where are the deer/elk/antelope?  Hunting of large game is not allowed on the refuge.  Large game may be viewed on the refuge, but not spotlighted.

Where can I camp?  Camping is not allowed on the refuge but dispersed camping may be allowed on Forest Service or BLM land adjacent to the refuge and at the South Ruby Campground operated by the Forest Service.

Can I take a boat on the water?   Boating at Ruby Lake is allowed according to court mandated seasons and restrictions. Learn More 

How can I get a job working on a National Wildlife Refuge?  Federal jobs are posted on USA Jobs.