Plan Your Visit

Wetlands at Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge with clouds reflecting in the water.

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge - an Oasis in the Desert!

Stillwater NWR provides recreation opportunities to visitors who enjoy getting away from it all. Activities include viewing the unique geology and desert wildlife, waterfowl hunting, bird watching, and nature photography. Passenger vehicles are fine as long as roads are not wet or wash-boarded. Make sure to pack water, food, a cell phone or other signalling device, and first aid kit just in case. Even when dry, the roads can be tricky with loose rocks and gravel on a hard packed surface, watch your speed especially on turns.     

The refuge is open daily. Visitors access the refuge via Hwy 50 going East through Fallon, turning left onto State Route 116 after 5 miles. This is also known as Stillwater Road, and leads directly to the main entry point for the refuge after 12 miles. 

Firearms and other weapons are subject to state law. At all times, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the refuge must comply with all provisions of state law. Firearms may only be discharged in accordance with refuge hunting regulations, i.e., only during the lawful pursuit of game during legal seasons. No target shooting is allowed! 

Once on the refuge, the pavement ends and the adventure begins! There are several designated public access roads within the refuge, and visitors must remain on these at all times.  Any off-road travel is strictly prohibited and enforced. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only.  

There are several public service features on Stillwater refuge, including 5 vault toilets at strategic locations; a covered pavilion with picnic tables and a viewing boardwalk with floating platforms on the Foxtail Lake driving tour loop; a short timeline path leading to a shaded observation deck with interpretive signs at Stillwater Point Reservoir; the 1.25 mi long Tule Trail interpretive path with rest benches, photo blind and interpretive trail signs; and the Paiute Path historic walk across from the Foxtail pavilion. 

Boating is not allowed in any wetland unit outside of waterfowl hunting season, except non-motorized boating on Swan Check Lake. During the October - January waterfowl hunting season, boating is only allowed in open units north of Division Road. Airboats need a Special Use Permit.

Overnight stays are allowed in two areas within the refuge boundary - on E Division Rd, 3 miles off Hunter Rd., and about 9 miles North on Hunter Rd. The overnight area is just before you cross the canal near the Center Rd intersection.  Both sites are near vault toilets, but that's it for development and comfort - these are primitive sites with no other features! There are no fees for overnight stays, but they are limited to four (4) consecutive nights at one location, not to exceed twelve (12) consecutive nights on the refuge. 

Hiking is allowed in all areas open to the public, as are wildlife observation and photography. Even though we encourage you to explore and discover, these activities should be limited during nesting season from April to June. If a parent bird is disturbed from the nest, it may not return and the young could die. Please use your best judgement in observing sensitive and vulnerable wildlife and birds in any natural area. Use a camera, spotting scope or binoculars to get up close to wildlife.  

If you find any sick, injured, apparently orphaned/abandoned wildlife, please do not pick it up! It is against the law to move or transport most wild animals found on the refuge; please contact the main refuge office at 775-423-5128 immediately, or call the NV Dept of Wildlife at 775-423-3171. 

Sport hunting is permitted on the refuge in accordance with all NV state and federal regulations. Hunters should consult the Nevada state hunting regulations. Refuge-specific hunting regulations may also apply.

Other prohibitions on the refuge include: dogs allowed only on a 6ft leash (except during waterfowl season); no off-road vehicles or driving; and no collecting of plants, animals, minerals, antlers and artifacts.

Lodging is available in Fallon, NV. Listings are available through the Fallon Convention and Visitors Bureau at 775-423-4556. Telephone, gas and supplies are available year-round in Fallon.

For driving directions, please visit our Contact page.

The Complex headquarters are located at: 1020 New River Parkway #305, off Harrigan Road, on the east side of town, in the New River Surgical Arts center. Hours are Mon - Fri, 8am - 4:30pm. We have brochures, maps, water and wildlife information along with local sites of interest handouts.

Phone: 775-423-5128, press option 1 for the refuge staff directory.

It's also very important to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.  Preparation is the key to a fun and worthwhile adventure at Stillwater NWR!