Facility Activities

Welcome to your national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
. Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge provides a number of activities to enjoy nature throughout the year including hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and photography. Some of these activities are offered seasonally and have special regulations. To learn more about permitted activities, pick up a refuge brochure when visiting or call us at 712-388-4800 with any questions.

Archery for deer and turkey is available in the public hunt area. See annual refuge hunt brochure for map, season dates and regulations.

The 2.3 mile auto tour is open year-round and follows the length of the chute. Pullouts and parking lots along the route provide visitors with numerous access points to the chute.

Bikers can ride on any stretch of open refuge road and trail. Be aware that most of the trails are mowed grass. 

The auto tour and hiking trails provide great access for birding within the diverse Missouri River floodplain habitat. Binoculars are not available for loan onsite so make sure to come prepared.

The nearly 10 miles of hiking trails are all open to cross country skiing in the winter time when conditions allow. The trails are not groomed.

Dogs are permitted only under physical restrictive control of a leash at all times. Leashes may not exceed 6 feet in length.

Refuge rangers work to provide curriculum based environmental education experience. Ranger led programs must be scheduled in advance based on staff availability. Self-guided field trips are also available for teachers. Contact the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge visitor center for more...

Firewood cutting permits are issued to individuals allowing them to cut fallen trees along the refuge roads. Contact 712-388-4800 for information on obtaining a firewood cutting permit.

Fishing season is year-round along the chute and Missouri River with bank access only. The primary species taken from both the Missouri River and Boyer Chute include blue catfish, flathead catfish, shovelnose sturgeon and carp, but other game species are also available.

Ice fishing is not...

The refuge offers over 9 miles of hiking trails. The trails take visitors along the chute and through a diversity of Missouri River floodplain habitat.

Meadowlark Trail

Open Season: Open year round.

Length: 0.32 miles

Location of trail: Originates...

The section of Missouri River that flows between Nebraska and Iowa once was rich in wetland wildlife habitat, but river channelization and wetland conversion have eliminated more than 500,000 acres of habitat. Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge was established to restore wetlands for wildlife...

The refuge offers great vistas of the restored chute and Missouri River floodplain habitat. The trails, picnic areas and overlooks provide great places to do artwork.

Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge is full of photographic opportunities. Photographers have ample opportunities to photograph migratory waterfowl, bald eagles, scenic vistas and other resident wildlife. There are no special photography blinds on the refuge but photographers can shoot from any...

One picnic shelter is located on the refuge. The picnic shelter is located on Boyer Island at the start of the trail heads. The overlooks and parking areas also provide areas for a picnic along the edge of the chute. All trash must be packed out.

Refuge rangers lead programs throughout the year on a wide range of nature related topics.

Running is permitted on open refuge roads and nature trails.

In the winter time DeSoto’s trails can be a good place to snow shoe. The trails are not groomed after snow falls.

Collection of mushrooms for personal use only is permitted in open areas of the refuge.

Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. A wide variety of migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, grassland birds, neotropical migrants, mammals and many others can be seen at the refuge. Wildlife can be seen from refuge roads and hiking trails. Wildlife...