Facility Activities

Visitors enjoy many activities at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge including wildlife observation, photography, hiking, fishing, educational programs, guided tours, bicycling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and deer and upland game hunting. Trapping is also an approved use on the refuge. For activity specific information, see refuge brochures for seasonal access and site-specific information.

The refuge is open to archery hunting for authorized wildlife species. See "Hunting" section.

Horicon "TernPike" auto tour and hiking trails

The refuge auto tour is located on State Highway 49 (N10755), just east of the city of Waupun. Paved driving route (3 miles) and three hiking trails along with a floating boardwalk and bicycling and hiking access to the Wild Goose...


The refuge auto tour, located on State Highway 49, has a paved route (3 miles) suitable for bicycling and also offers an access spur to the Wild Goose State Trail. Old Marsh Road (gravel) which bisects the marsh is open for hiking and bicycling June 1 - August 31 as well as between...


Over 300 species of birds can be found at Horicon Marsh throughout the year. The marsh has been designated as both state and internationally significant areas for birds. 


Common winter birds include northern harriers, red-tailed and rough-legged hawks, snow buntings...

Winter Access - Cross-country skiing

The entire refuge is open from December 1 - March 15 for hiking, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing. No groomed trails.

Leashed dogs are allowed on refuge trails and public use areas. Please be respectful and clean up after your dog. 

While traditional geocaching (the burial or removal of "treasure") is generally not permitted at national wildlife refuges because it disturbs wildlife habitat, virtual geocaching may be allowed. In this variant, GPS coordinates lead to points of interest, such as cultural sites or exhibits, that participants can check off on a list.

Fishing on the refuge is open year-round in accordance with state fishing regulations. For more information visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Opportunities for perch, pike, bullhead, other game species, and carp exist

Bank Fishing Locations

Fishing is...


Many trails and interior roads are maintained on the refuge for hiking access. For a listing of trails, surfaces and distances see "Visit Us' page.


The 33,000-acre Horicon Marsh is divided into Horicon National Wildlife Refuge (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources). Known as the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States, it provides rich habitat...

Painting and sketching in nature is possible at nearly all sites open to the public. Sometimes, sites host public displays of artworks created on the refuge.

Opportunities for photography at the refuge are endless. Whether photographing unique birds, colorful wildflowers, impressive sunsets or other marsh wildlife, amateur and professional shutterbugs alike will enjoy the abundant diversity of the refuge wildlife and habitats. A photo...

Picnicking is allowed at the refuge visitor center as well as other public use sites on the refuge. Trash cans are available at limited locations, visitors are encouraged to "Pack it in, pack it out".

Ranger-led programs are available seasonally on topics such as birding and marsh wildlife. Contact the refuge for currently scheduled programming.

Trails and auto tour route are open to runners, joggers, and walkers. 

Winter Access - Snow-shoeing

The entire refuge is open from December 1 - March 15 for hiking, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing. No groomed trails.

Trapping does occur on the refuge under a limited permit trapping program.

The 2023-2024 trapping seasons for all units and areas will be:

Raccoon, fox, coyote, weasel, skunk, and opossum (closed to fisher and bobcat trapping): Opens on October 14, 2023 and closes on...

Wildlife Watching

Opportunities exist year-round for viewing wildlife at the refuge. Several miles of hiking trails as well as a floating boardwalk and many other public use facilities are available. E-Bird is a great place to stay up-to-date with bird sightings (over 300 species of birds...