person wearing yellow shirt and red hard hat carrying a drip torch and fire in the background
Planned Prescribed Fire starting Monday, March 4, 2024

A public meeting concerning a planned prescribed fire effort is scheduled for Monday March 4, 2024 at 5:00pm at the Maxwell Volunteer Fire Department. 

Crews are scheduled to stage and prep on Tuesday March 5th for a prescribed fire on March 6, 7, and 8th if within weather parameters.  

 For more information please call the Maxwell Refuge Manager Chris Moehring at (505) 398-6122.  

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge presents visitors with a unique wildlife viewing experience. Visitors are treated to year-round views of hawks, owls, eagles, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, mule deer, and black-tailed prairie dogs. 

Driving Directions

From Albuquerque, drive north on I-25 and take the Maxwell Exit (426). Drive north 0.8 miles on State Highway 445. At the intersection of State Highways 445 and 505, drive 2.5 miles west. Turn north on Lake 13 Road at the refuge entrance sign and drive 1.25 miles to the refuge visitor center. The distance is 200 miles and the estimated driving time is 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

Froom Denver drive south on I-25 and take the Maxwell Exit (426). Drive north 0.8 miles on State Highway 445. At the intersection of State Highways 445 and 505, drive 2.5 miles west. Turn north on Lake 13 Road at the refuge entrance sign and drive 1.25 miles to the refuge Visitor Center. The distance is 247 miles and the estimated driving time is 3 hours and 48 minutes. 

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge is located at Latitude N 36.57143 and Longitude W -104.57945

Fees

There is no charge to visit.

Restrooms

Restrooms are available inside the refuge headquarters/visitor center, vault toilet in the headquarters parking lot, and camping area. 

Points of Interest

Stop by the Visitors Center before beginning your tour and have one of the staff or volunteers help orient you to the refuge. Refuge staff will be able to let you know what you may see on your adventure.    

What to Do

If you have 15-minutes: 

  • Birders and wildlife watchers can challenge themselves by attempting to check off all 289 species of birds found on the refuge. The link below shows the refuge's most recent bird list (2015). American kestrels, wild turkeys, and Wilson's phalaropes are a few of the common species you will enjoy seeing on Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge. 

If you have one hour:

  • The six mile network of gravel roads that crisscross the refuge are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mid-October on the refuge is generally the peak fall migration of sandhill cranes, geese and ducks. However, any time of year you are likely to see a diversity of wildlife. Wildlife watching is generally best during the morning and at dusk when wildlife are most active. 

If you have half a day or more: 

  • 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. 

Know Before You Go

Temperatures and weather close to the base of the Rocky Mountains can change quickly. Visitors are encouraged to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and insect repellant, binoculars, spotting scopes, cameras, telephoto lens, field guides (especially for birds), and snacks. 

Check local weather to ensure you have dressed properly for the current season. It is recommended to always wear layered clothing, sturdy hiking shoes and a hat. 

Visitor Tips

  • Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife. 
  • In warmer seasons, little is moving on hot summer afternoons or on windy days. 
  • Observe from the sidelines. Leave “abandoned” young animals alone. A parent is probably close by waiting for you to leave.  
  • Don’t offer snacks; your lunch could disrupt wild digestive systems.  
  • For a closer look, bring binoculars or a spotting scope and don't forget those field guides. 
  • Try sitting quietly in one good location. Let wildlife get used to your presence. Many animals that have hidden will reappear once they think you are gone.  
  • Walk quietly in designated areas, being aware of sounds and smells. Often you will hear more than you will see.  
  • Teach children quiet observation. Other wildlife watchers will appreciate your consideration.  
  • Look for animal signs. Tracks, scat, feathers, and nests left behind often tell interesting stories. 
  • Leave nothing behind and take only photographs. 

Activities

The refuge provides a variety of activities such as archery, auto tours, biking, hiking, hunting, painting, photography, and wildlife watching.   Stop by the visitor center or call for current activities on refuge. 

Trails

Woodlot  

Open Season: The trail is open from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week 

Length:  1 mile  

Location of trail:   

Difficulty:   Easy 

Woodlots on the refuge are primarily plains cottonwood, Siberian elm, white poplar, and New Mexico locust. The woodlots are actually remnants of old homesteads that today provide unique foraging and nesting habitat for raptors, migrant songbirds, and other obligate species.  

Other Facilities in the Complex

Rules and Policies

There are a lot of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn't help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. Please check with the refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself. There are plenty of activities at Maxwell National Refuge for you to enjoy. Be safe and have fun! 

  • Pets must be on a leash. 
  • Pits or permanent blinds are prohibited. 
  • Use caution when walking on roads. Yield to approaching vehicles. 
  • Observe wildlife from a safe distance. Young animals should be left alone. 
  • Help protect resources. All plants, wildlife, and cultural features on the refuge are protected and it is illegal to remove them. 
  • Open fires are prohibited. 

Locations

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge
168 Lake 13 RoadMaxwell,NM87728
Driving Directions

From Albuquerque, drive north on I-25 and take the Maxwell Exit (426). Drive north 0.8 miles on State Highway 445. At the intersection of State Highways 445 and 505, drive 2.5 miles west. Turn north on Lake 13 Road at the refuge entrance sign and drive 1.25 miles to the refuge visitor center. The distance is 200 miles and the estimated driving time is 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

Froom Denver drive south on I-25 and take the Maxwell Exit (426). Drive north 0.8 miles on State Highway 445. At the intersection of State Highways 445 and 505, drive 2.5 miles west. Turn north on Lake 13 Road at the refuge entrance sign and drive 1.25 miles to the refuge Visitor Center. The distance is 247 miles and the estimated driving time is 3 hours and 48 minutes. 

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge is located at Latitude N 36.57143 and Longitude W -104.57945

Hours
Visitor Center Hours
Mon - Fri
8 am - 4 pm
Headquarters Office Hours
Mon - Thurs
7 am - 4:30 pm
Fri
7 am - 3:30 pm
Trails and Auto Tour Loop
Daily
Sunrise - Sunset