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Visitor Activities

Tallgrass Prairie at Union Slough NWR

Union Slough provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy a number of wildlife dependent recreational activities.

  • Hunting

    Father and Son on a Hunt

    Hunting is permitted in designated areas at Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge, in accordance with all federal, state and refuge-specific regulations. We provide limited opportunities to hunt upland game, waterfowl and big game on the refuge. The Core Area of the Refuge will be open to only ring-necked pheasant and gray partridge hunting during the last five days of the State established pheasant hunting season. Each fall, a hunting brochure listing current seasons, hours and regulations is available at the refuge office or you can download it here: Hunting Brochure

  • Fishing

    Kid Fishing

    Fishing is permitted seasonally in designated areas of Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge, in accordance with all federal, state and refuge-specific regulations. You can contact the refuge office at 515-928-2523 or for more information on fishing opportunities. Designated area maps and refuge-specific regulations are available at the refuge office or can be downloaded here: Union Slough Public Use Regulations Brochure

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Wildlife Viewing

    The wetland and tallgrass prairie habitats of Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge provide excellent opportunities for wildlife observation. Trumpeter swans, mallards, blue-winged teal, wood-ducks, and Canada geese can easily be seen from the refuge’s observation platform located near the office. A four mile auto tour route, open in late summer and for special events, traverses rolling tallgrass prairie and winds along the shoreline of Union Slough, providing outstanding views of shorebirds, waterbirds, grassland birds, and waterfowl. Bobolinks, lesser yellowlegs, bald eagles and great blue herons area commonly seen along the auto tour route. Buffalo Creek Bottoms, or the South Unit, is open for hiking and snowshoeing, providing other ways to observe wildlife. Inquire at the refuge office for more information about these or other wildlife viewing opportunities.

  • Interpretation

    Interpretive Program on a Refuge

    Refuge staff offer interpretive programs, focusing on wetlands, refuge wildlife, prairies, and refuge history, to organized groups such as schools, clubs and organizations. We have both indoor and outdoor interpretive displays and panels at the refuge office, as well as interactive displays. You can also see a short video presentation highlighting the refuge’s history, purpose and importance at the refuge office, open Monday – Friday, 7:30am to 4:00pm, excluding federal holidays. Please inquire with refuge staff, by calling 515-928-2523 or emailing, well in advance if your group or school wishes to participate in an interpretive program.

  • Environmental Education

    Wetland Study

    Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge supports excellent opportunities for environmental education, through partnerships with neighboring county conservation naturalists and the Friends of Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge. Please inquire with refuge staff, by calling 515-928-2523 or emailing, if you want to either conduct or participate in environmental education activities on the refuge.

  • Photography

    Trumpeter Swans

    Two of the most-photographed species at Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge are the wood duck and the trumpeter swan. From the auto tour, wildlife photographers may have the opportunity to capture trumpeter swans with cygnets in the summer months or the gorgeous breeding plumage of the male wood duck in early spring. Exceptional photography opportunities are possible during bird migration, starting in early spring, depending on the weather. Photographers, please remember that, while on the refuge auto tour, you must remain in your vehicle unless you are at a designated parking area or the observation platform.

Page Photo Credits — Credit: USFWS
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2017
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