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.

The refuge offers a variety of recreational activities: hiking, biking, hiking/walking, wildlife viewing, hunting, and so much more. You can find maps/brochures, exciting programs, guided tours, exhibits, and a nature store at the two visitor centers on the refuge.
Public entrance to Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Bloomington, MN.
Visitor Center Hours

Current Bloomington Education and Visitor Center Services:

  • Hours: Thursdays through Sundays 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
  • Phone number: 952-854-5900
  • Nature Store and America the Beautiful Pass sales
  • Equipment lending: binoculars, explorer backpacks
  • Indoor restrooms open Thursdays through Sundays 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
  • Outdoor portable restrooms open daily
  • Drinking water available indoors only
  • Confluence Gallery will display in August. Nature exhibit area and administrative offices closed for construction. Construction is slated to be completed in the Summer of 2022. The Minnesota Valley NWR Office renovation project will include creating an Ecological Services wing and updating office facilities and meeting space for refuge staff and partners.

Current Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center Services:

  • Hours: Thursdays through Sundays 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
  • Phone number: 952-361-4500
  • Information desk
  • Equipment lending: binoculars, explorer backpacks
  • Indoor restroom open Thursdays through Sundays 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
  • Outdoor heated restroom open daily
  • Drinking water available indoors only
     

Visitor Center parking lots and hiking trails are open daily, sunrise to sunset.

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.

Find out more about Minnesota Valley NWR by exploring the menu to the left.

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

      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.