Facility Activities

There are many ways to enjoy your refuge! Visitors can enjoy more than 45 miles of trails on foot or by bicycle year round, find a multitude of birds and other wildlife to watch or photograph, shore fish for native Minnesota freshwater species, hunt in select areas of the refuge or take part in free educational programs about nature.

Bicycling is a wonderful way to see the refuge because visitors can travel through large portions of the back-country. There are many miles of roads and trails available for biking, year-round.  Remember that our trails are mixed-use; please ride slowly and be aware of visitors walking and...

The Refuge's 14,000 acres include prairies, woodlands, marshes, forests, savannas, and lakes that attract many types of shorebirds, waterfowl, and songbirds to the refuge as a stopover on their migration route between their breeding grounds further north and their wintering areas in the south....

The Long Meadow Lake Trail, River Bottoms Trail, and Mazomani Trail are groomed for winter trail use by hikers, bikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers. No classic tracks are laid for cross-country skiing.

Dogs on 6-foot leashes are allowed to enjoy the trails with their owners. Visitors should use disposable dog waste bags to remove all solid pet waste when visiting. Trash cans are available at Bass Ponds, Louisville Swamp north parking lot, and Rapids Lake North Hunter parking lot. In areas...

Educators are invited to participate in the various education partnerships or utilize self-guided environmental education content. Contact Minnesota Valley NWR staff to schedule a field trip. We also offer a suite of outdoor learning resources to be used on school campuses, at home or at a local...

The refuge is located along a 39-mile stretch of the Minnesota River from Fort Snelling to Jordan. Major species include northern pike and carp. 

Important Information

Be sure you are also familiar with Refuge regulations when you plan your visit to go fishing. ...

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is host to over 46 miles of trails!  Many trail heads are moments from public transit, and providing you with safe, convenient, and nearby nature experiences

Many multi-purpose trails are open to runners and joggers as well as walkers....

The Minnesota Valley NWR is a hunter's getaway from the urban and suburban areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The refuge is located in a green belt of large marsh areas, bordered by office buildings, highways, residential areas and grain terminals. While this may seem like an unusual place for...

Perhaps the fastest growing activity on National Wildlife Refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. That’s not surprising when you consider the popularity of digital cameras and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities. You don’t need to purchase expensive...

We host a variety of programs on the refuge at our visitor centers and trail heads. Learn something new or meet new people at a program that fits your interest. We partner with local organizations and have talented volunteers that lead many of our programs in addition to staff led talks and...

Venturing around the refuge on a pair snowshoes offers incredible exercise in the middle of Minnesota's snowy winter. 

Don't have snowshoes? That's ok. Stop by the refuge visitor centers to borrow a pair for free. We have sizes for adults and children as well as a few pairs of...

Foragers may enjoy picking mushrooms or berries at the Refuge. There are limits to what you can take, and we recommend checking our regulations before your search.  Reminder: Some mushrooms and berries are poisonous - if you are unsure, don't eat!

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Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a premier, wild location just minutes from your doorstep in the Twin Cities. With over 14,000 acres of Refuge, two visitor centers, and more than 45 miles of trails, this urban Refuge can help you rediscover nature, and provide excellent opportunities...