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.

Archery demonstrations and lessons may be a part of local site programming. Some refuges and hatcheries permit bow-hunting with other hunting. This activity is typically limited. Check locally for how to apply.
Auto tour routes offer a great all-season way to see wildlife and habitats from the comfort of your car. By using your car as a viewing blind, you can often see more wildlife than you can see on foot.
Biking is a good way to see wildlife, learn about habitats and photograph nature. Yield to pedestrians; many refuge routes are multi-use trails. Biking may be permitted at sites where it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose. E-bikes are permitted on any refuge roads and trails where traditional bicycle use is allowed, if it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose and the refuge manager determines it to be a compatible use.
From bald eagles to spoonbills, from condors to puffins, birds abound on national wildlife refuges. Refuges provide places for birds to nest, rest, feed and breed making them world-renown for their birding opportunities.
Many refuges in the country's northern tier have backcountry trails that can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in season. Some refuges lend gear or rent it at low cost.
Many sites do not allow dogs because they can disturb wildlife. Refuges that do allow dogs generally require that they be leashed. Some sites allow hunters and sledders to bring dogs.
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 is available for yellow perch, carp, bullhead and northern pike. Boating is allowed only at the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area at the southern end of the Horicon Marsh.

Take your pick of 2,100 miles of refreshing trails and boardwalks. Whether you want a short, easy walk or a challenging hike, you’re likely to find what you want. Some trails are paved and universally accessible. Some trails include displays on visual arts, local history and culture or environmental education.

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 for a...

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.
Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you’ll find photo-worthy subjects at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. Wildlife photography is a priority public use on national wildlife refuges, so you’ll find wildlife drives and blinds and overlooks to help you get the images you’re after.
A few sites allow picnicking at designated areas.
Rangers lead wildlife walks, tours and educational programs at many sites. Events may focus on wildflowers or birds or on seasonal spectacles, such as elk bugling or sea turtle nesting. Some programs may be limited in size or require advance registration. See individual websites for details.
Many multi-purpose trails are open to runners and joggers as well as walkers and, in some cases, bicyclists. Some sites host annual fun runs. Check individual refuge websites for details.
Many refuges in the country's northern tier have backcountry trails that can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in season. Some refuges loan out gear or rent it at low cost.
Trapping is carefully managed to ensure safety and the sustainability of wildlife populations. Permitted trapping on refuges typically mirrors state regulations, and trappers who access refuge lands for recreation must possess state licenses and follow state regulations as well as permit stipulations.
Many refuges champion wildlife viewing as a key recreational activity.