Facility Activities

The refuge offers many different activities throughout the year. Hiking, wildlife viewing and photography are fun year round activities for people of all ages. In the winter, enjoy the outdoors by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing the Platte River Trail. The refuge also offers many hunting opportunities for big game, small game, migratory birds and furbearers. Check out the activities page for a full list of activities offered at the refuge.

Rules & Policies Page

Archery hunting is allowed on the refuge following refuge regulations. See refuge hunting brochure for species and seasons.

Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge attracts more than 200 species of birds each year. From bald eagles to Sandhill cranes, red headed woodpeckers to waterfowl, the refuge provides a variety of habitat types to support a wide range of bird species.

The Platte River Trail is a great...

Boating provides a unique perspective of the refuge and can be used as a vehicle to enjoy wildlife observation, photography and hunting. Boating is allowed on Rice Lake, Skunk Lake and Mud Lake, as well as the local rivers following state of Minnesota boating regulations and refuge regulations...

Canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding provides a unique perspective of the refuge and can be used as a vehicle to enjoy wildlife observation, photography and hunting. Boating is allowed on Rice Lake, Skunk Lake and Mud Lake, as well as the local rivers following state of Minnesota boating...

The Platte River Trail is groomed for classic cross-county skiing during the winter, when snow conditions allow.

Walking dogs is allowed on refuge lands and trails, including the Platte River Trail. Dogs must be leashed at all times. Please be courteous of others and pick up and pack out your dogs waste when hiking the Platte River and Sedge Meadow Trails.  

Permit required. Contact the maintenance office for more information.

Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the refuge. Located on the Headquarters Unit, the Platte River Trail offers 3.7 miles of trail that meanders through oak savanna, prairies, wetlands and woodlands. With three loops, you can choose your distance.

The refuge provides opportunities for small game, migratory birds, turkey and white-tailed deer in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws, and subject to special refuge regulations. 

A fall white-tailed deer hunt is offered to persons with disabilities. Dates of the...

Painting and sketching in nature is a great way to peacefully take in the landscape around you.

Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you'll find photo-worthy subjects. Personal and commercial still photography are allowed and does not require a special use permit.

Interested in commercial photography? Reference the refuge's rules and policies page for additional details...

The refuge offers a variety of programs throughout the year. Annual events include Candlelight Ski, Habitat Day, a Spring Bird Walk and a Backyard Bird Feeder event.

The Platte River Trail offers running and jogging opportunities year-round.

Snowshoeing is permitted refuge wide. People snowshoeing, who wish to follow the Platte River Trail, are kindly asked to hike off to the side of the trail, to keep the trail and ski grooves in good shape for skiers. 

The refuge is a great place to watch wildlife. Hiking the Platte River Trail provides opportunities to observe a variety of wildlife, throughout multiple different habitats, while enjoying a leisurely hike. Keep an eye out for waterfowl on the river and Rice Lake, bald eagles in the sky and...