Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

  • Check alerts and local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, all visitors (age 2 and older), who are fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission.. All visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.


  • Drought Conditions, Drying Lakes / USFWS

    Spring 2021 Drought, Drying Lakes

    There will be no fishing season at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge due to the lack of water available. The refuge's lakes are dry and un-stocked.

    Refuge's Visitor Activities page

  • Lake 13 view / © Leann Wilkins, USFWS

    Camping Is Now Open All Year!

    The Refuge has extended its camping opportunities to now be open year-round for up to 5 days.

    Visitor Activities page

  • Visitor Center / Leann Wilkins, USFWS

    Temporarily Closing Visitor Center

    . . . to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, and you--our friends and neighbors.

    Agency's COVID-19 Announcement

  • Northern shovelers over Lake 13 / © Bennette Jenkins, USFWS

    eBird Observation Entries

    Find out what birds are being seen at the refuge, including the most recent sightings.

    eBird Daily Observation Entries

  • Long-billed curlew-Numenius americanus/Leann Wilkins

    Long-billed Curlew

    With a bill over a third of its total body length, this shorebird has a profile to rival Pinocchio's. It is the world's largest shorebird.

At Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge

Extension to Camping Stays

Camper trailer arriving at refuge campsite / USFWS

The refuge's recent Compatibility Determination has extended camping stays to year-round, from the previous seasonal period. The allowed days campers can stay has increased to 5, from the previous 3 days. The refuge's primitive camping area is located adjacent to Lake 13. Vault toilets can be found at the entrance road to Lake 13. No facilities are provided, so please come fully prepared for your stay. Parking or staging unattended vehicles is prohibited. Lake 13 is dry due to the current drought conditions. There is no fishing due to lack of available water. For more information, please contact the refuge at 505-425-3581, Ext. 201. Enjoy camping at Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge!

On-line Observation Entries

Ferruginous hawk / L. Wilkins, USFWS

Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird website program is a real-time, online checklist program that has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. A birder simply enters when, where, and how they went birding, then fills out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. The observations of each participant join those of others in an international network of eBird users. The link below allows you to set-up an account in eBird to submit your observations. The Refuge appreciates you entering your bird sightings on the eBird online checklist program. For more information about eBird go to: Current entries at Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge, can be seen on our Wildlife & Habitat page, in the header banner up above, and then open the left menu link titled: Report a Bird Sighting.

eBird On-line Program to Submit Observations

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announcement Letter

In keeping with guidance from the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and acting out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily suspending (closing) operations of the Visitor Center at Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge. We are committed to doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, and you--our friends and neighbors. Therefore, planned Refuge events and programs may not take place as scheduled. Refuge lands, including nature trails and outdoor recreational activities, remain open and accessible to the public. Please visit refuge information kiosks or brochure boxes for visitor information and refuge maps. We apologize for any inconvenience and will provide updates as they become available. More information is available by calling 505-425-3581, Ext. 201 or emailing

Auto Tour

Refuge's Scenic Auto Tour Route

Prairie dog family / © Sarowen, USFWS

Our auto tour route has improved! Winding through the refuge, the 10 mile loop has several pullouts for visitors to hike, observe, and learn about refuge wildlife. Take in the beautiful vistas from Lake 13, listen to the songbirds fleeting through the cottonwoods as you hike one of our newest trails, feel the wind while walking the new Prairie Path or sit and watch the black-tailed prairie dogs foraging in the shadow of the highest peak in New Mexico, Wheeler’s Peak. Maps are available at the visitor center.

For more information, Contact Us.

Limited Availability

Central Flyway Sanctuary

Grasshopper sparrow-Ammodramus savannarum/Robert Shantz ©

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge is located in the Central Flyway, a route traveled annually by numerous species of waterfowl and other migratory birds. Many of the most common birds on the refuge are considered grassland-dependent species. Grassland birds, many of which are experiencing population declines throughout their ranges, rely upon the short-grass prairie habitat of the refuge for their survival. Maxwell supports some of the highest densities of the grasshopper sparrow in the state of New Mexico.

Photo Gallery of Migratory Birds

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS