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Rapids Lake Visitor Center Opening Soon

The Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-5pm beginning Saturday, August 3rd.  For more information on visiting the site, click here.

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Trail and Hiking Related News

Flooding Impacts: 

  • Flooding has impacted many refuge trails and access points.  
  • Updates on flooded areas will be posted on our trails page as it becomes available.
  • Do not attempt to use flooded trails or access points.
  • As floodwaters recede, we will be working to clear flood debris from trails. Please exercise caution and maintain a safe distance from working maintenance crews. We appreciate your patience during this time.
  • For updated road condition information, call 511 or visit 511MN.

(Updated 7/15/24)

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a thriving urban refuge where nature connects people, communities and wildlife. Where diverse communities are welcomed through meaningful connections, educational opportunities and recreational experiences, while conserving wildlife habitat in the Minnesota River Valley.
Public entrance to Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Bloomington, MN.
Visitor Center Hours

Current Bloomington Education and Visitor Center Services:

  • The visitor center will be closed Thursday, July 4th in observance of the federal holiday. Refuge lands will remain open.
  • Hours: Wednesdays through Sundays 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Phone number: 952-854-5900
  • Exhibits, bird feeder viewing area, Confluence Gallery
  • Equipment lending: Binoculars and explorer backpacks
  • America the Beautiful Passes
  • Nature Store (accepts cash and credit)
  • Indoor restrooms available during open hours
  • Accessible outdoor portable restroom open daily
  • Drinking water available indoors only

Current Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center Services:

  • Temporarily closed to walk-in visitors
  • Scheduled field trips and programs are not affected by this temporary closure
  • Phone number: 952-361-4500
  • Outdoor heated restroom open daily
  • No outdoor drinking water available


Land and trails are open daily, 5:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Latino Nature Fest spotlight
Join us at Latino Nature Fest to celebrate the cultures that make up Latino community and the nature that connects us all!

Visit Us

With more than 45 miles of trails open to hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, in the south metro you can easily find an adventure for all levels of experience. The Minnesota River Valley unfolds in front of you, and moments later you can find safe, quiet lands filled with wildlife. Visitors can easily find opportunities to try out fishing in ponds, lakes and the Minnesota River, and there are also portions of the refuge open for hunting.

See our Visit Us page to find out what the refuge has to offer, including:

  • Trails
  • Visitor Centers
  • Hiking
  • Fishing & Hunting
  • Snowshoeing
  • Environmental Education

Location and Contact Information

      What We Do

      The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the refuge system. It drives everything we do from the purpose a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge.

      Our Species

      The tallgrass prairie, floodplain forests and wetlands found within the refuge provide exceptional opportunities to find iconic and rare species of plants, birds, insects and freshwater mussels. Moments from the busy Twin Cities core you can find bald eagles, wood ducks, river otters, prairie skinks, and white-tailed deer. Endangered and threatened species such as the northern long-eared bat, rusty-patched bumblebee and rare freshwater mussels benefit from the protected habitats found throughout the refuge.