Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we encourage you to:

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information
  • Follow current CDC safe practices by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick


  • Fishing in refuge Lake / USFWS

    Refuge's Fishing Season Has Begun!

    Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge's fishing season began March 1, 2020 with fishing at Lake 13 on the Refuge. Fish Today!

    Refuge Current Events

  • Lake 13 / © Bennette Jenkins, 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

  • Sunflower field overlooking Lake 13 / © Bennette Jenkins, USFWS

    Shoreline of Lake 13

    Spring flowers at the Refuge's Lake 13 shoreline. Fishing is allowed from March 1st to October 31st on this Refuge Lake.

    Refuge' Fishing Season Information

  • 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

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 575-375-2331 Ext. 200 or emailing

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
Fishing Opportunity at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge

Refuge Open During Fishing Season

Fish caught at Lake 13 / USFWS

The Refuge has fishing daily at Lake 13. Refuge roads are open to the public seven days a week, and Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge's fishing season began March 1st. A New Mexico State Fishing License is required.

Visitor Activities

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