Plan Your Visit

Entrance sign to Waubay NWR. Photo by L. Hubers/USFWS

National Wildlife Refuges are great places to see, enjoy, and learn more about wildlife. Waubay NWR is no exception. Opportunities for the public to enjoy the Refuge occur throughout the year, but it's important to remember that the needs of wildlife come first.


The Refuge is open during daylight hours every day. 

Headquarters Visitors Center - This is a great place to start your visit. The displays and exhibits focus on the wildlife and history of the Refuge. Refuge staff can answer questions to make your visit safer and more enjoyable. Open Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, closed holidays.

The following activities are encouraged on wildlife refuges: hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education and interpretation. Hiking is allowed on designated trails.  Trail lengths vary from 370 feet to 1 mile in length. Check out the Visitor Activities page for additional information on all recreational opportunities at Waubay.

Any time of year is a good time to explore Waubay but spring and fall migrations will provide more wildlife activity as well as better weather.  Seasons in the upper Midwest are easily distinguished and usually involve when the snow and ice on lakes and wetlands appear or finally disappear. "Ice out" usually occurs in early to mid-April and most chances of snow are gone though late April snowfalls can occur.  "Ice up" can occur anywhere from early November to mid-December. Spring (April-June) can be quite pleasant though may often be rainy. Summers can be hot and humid, ticks and mosquitoes can be annoying, but the prairies are often at their best and most colorful from June to August.  Fall brings cooler and drier conditions, color to the trees and native grasses, and wonderful migrations. For more information about what you may see during the different seasons check out the Seasons of Wildlife page.

For more detailed information to plan your visit, please contact the Refuge office.

For driving directions see our Directions page.