Visit Us

The refuge is open for pedestrian trial use year-round from sunrise to sunset. We have a year round boat access area (Louie's Landing) and a seasonal boat ramp (Mac's Bend) for exploring the refuge on the Missisquoi River. Hunting and fishing are permitted during applicable state and refuge seasons and regulations.

The refuge has two other separate units: Westville and Eagle Point. The Westville Unit is located in the town of Westville, Franklin County, New York, approximately 10.5 miles north of the city of Malone. The Westville Unit consists of 262.4 acres and was acquired under provisions of the 1985 Farm Bill.

The Eagle Point Unit is located in the town of Derby, Vermont on the shore of Lake Memphremagog. In a unique partnership this unit is managed in cooperation with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Activities

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Hunting

Big game, upland small game, and water/other migratory bird hunting are allowed on portions of the refuge. Big game and upland small game both require an annual $10.00 permit. Waterfowl hunting is provided in both controlled hunt areas and public hunt areas. Controlled hunt zones may require a $10.00 permit during a portion of the waterfowl season, but public areas do not require a permit.

Youth waterfowl hunt opportunities are available at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge during the Vermont Youth Waterfowl Weekend and during the first 3 weekends of the regular waterfowl season.

Migratory Game Bird Hunting Map & Regulations (pdf)
Upland Game / Big Game Hunting (pdf)

Big Game Harvest Report

Upland-Small Game Report

Lottery Waterfowl Application

2022 Waterfowl Lottery Dates

 

FISHING

The warm shallow water of the Missisquoi Delta provides excellent fishing opportunities on and around the refuge. Refuge boat launch facilities at Louie’s Landing and seasonally at Macs Bend allow boaters quick access to the river and Lake Champlain.  Please be aware that some areas on the lake are closed to fishing.  Click here for a map of areas closed to boating and fishing access.

Fishing brochure (pdf)

  Boating Guide (pdf)

 

WILDLIFE VIEWING

Five refuge trails encompassing 7.5 miles provide excellent opportunities for wildlife observation in many different upland and wetland habitats. Numerous boardwalks on these trails allow quiet, elevated access through wildlife habitats to see migratory and resident species. The refuge delta, Missisquoi River, Dead Creek, provide a water rich alternative to observe wildlife on the refuge. Please note the Jeep Trail is open seasonally from August 1-April 1 only. This seasonal closure protects migratory birds and other wildlife during the breeding season. Kayaks, canoes, and small motorized boats allow access to the refuge in areas where trails are not available.

All trails are closed during the rifle and muzzleloader deer seasons with the exception of Black and Maquam Creek trail.  

Refuge trails brochure (pdf)
Bird brochure (pdf)

Black Creek & Maquam Creek Nature Trails brochure (pdf)

INTERPRETATION

The refuge hosts annual events such International Migratory Bird Day on the third Saturday in May. This event is coupled with a refuge open house and art display featuring local artists and photographers. The Junior Waterfowl Hunter Training program is provided on the third Saturday in August. This activity provides expert instruction both indoors and outdoors for young waterfowlers age 12-15.

The first Saturday in May is Refuge green Up Day during which staff and volunteers conduct a cleanup of refuge waterways.

The Friends of Missisquoi NWR provide Monthly bird walks on the third Saturday of each month and a photography/nature walk on the first Saturday of each month. Bog walks, Vernal Pool walks, Owl Prowls occur seasonally during the year.

Refuge Brochure (pdf)

 

 

 

 

 

    Environmental Education

    The Refuge HQ offers a large classroom for schools, summer camps, and other groups complete with audio/visual projection. Displays and exhibits are available in the HQ building as well. A hiking trail begins at the south entrance of the HQ building and offers educational opportunities to discuss green energy, macroinvertebrates, grassland habitats and a variety of other subject matter with students. The refuge provides outdoor classroom experiences to local schools and summer camps.

    We invite you to explore and use Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge as an outdoor classroom. Located near Swanton, we have 5 trails to discover, ponds for studying insects and water quality, as well as a modern visitor center with classroom facilities. There is no fee to use the refuge. We suggest education trips be conducted late May through early October. If you plan to bring a group to the refuge (either self-guided or staff guided) please fill out the education form. 

    We have developed an Educator Guide to help you facilitate a trip to the refuge.  You will find everything you need to guide your students though an immersive and hands on experience.  We may also have a limited number of spaces for a staff-guided education programs. Please contact us to find out more.  Additionally, education materials are available to borrow for use at the refuge or in your classroom. 

    Educator Guide (pdf)

    Photography

    Spring, summer and fall are the best times for photography at Missisquoi. These time periods provide opportunities to photograph both resident and migratory species. Winter wildlife most likely to be observed include pileated woodpeckers, whitetail deer, and chickadees. Spring and summer bring numerous migrants including a variety of waterfowl species, great blue herons, eagles and osprey, a variety of migrant songbirds are also present. Fall colors usher in returning concentrations of waterfowl as well as northern breeding songbirds as they move toward southern wintering areas. Photography from watercraft along the Missisquoi River and other adjacent water bodies is also productive in the spring, summer and fall.

     

    Agents of Discovery

    Agents of Discovery is an science app and game for smart phones or tablets. Families or  groups work to complete challenges along Missisquoi NWR's trails and Visitor's Center. For more information visit : https://agentsofdiscovery.com/

    Trails

    Visit wildlife in their natural habitat as you explore the Missisquoi NWR trails.  You are a guest in their home so please be respectful and follow trail guidelines.  Trails are open to walking, snowshoeing, and xc skiing. During deer and waterfowl hunting season some trails will have advisories and closures. Call the refuge at (802) 868-4781 for the most up to date information.

     

    Discovery Trail
    1 mile (1.6 km) loop,  45 minutes
    Starting at the Refuge Headquarters, follow this trail past ponds, through fields and into the woods. Walk along a gravel path, mowed trail, and boardwalks for an opportunity to see deer, red fox, coyote, songbirds and birds of prey.

     

     

     

     

    Stephen J. Young Marsh Trail
    1.25 mile (2 km) loop, 1 hour
    Discover diverse habitats along this short path. Take in the colorful sights and distinctive smells of a  freshwater wetland.  Then head into the forest to look for owls, wood peckers and deer. Explore along a combination of gravel and mowed trail with elevated boardwalks. 

     

     

     

     

     

    Mac’s Bend Road
    2 mile (3.2 km) round trip,  1.25 hours
    Explore the rivers edge as you meander along this gravel road leading you deeper into the refuge. Keep watch for bald eagles and osprey that nest in the floodplain forest and great blue herons that stalk the rivers edge. This road opens to vehicles from September through December.

     

     

     

     

     

    Black Creek & Maquam Creek Trails
    2.5 miles ( 4 km) round trip, 1.5 hours

    No hunting allowed on or near trail

    Follow the mowed trail over the railroad tracks into a forest with boardwalks and gravel paths.  Trails follow the creeks edge with chances to see beaver, muskrats, leopard frogs, and ducks.  Birds song and hammering woodpeckers surrounds you on the walk.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Old Railroad Passage Trail
    3 miles (4.8 km) round trip. 2 hours
    Follow an old railroad bed through a meadow looking  for bobolinks, field sparrows and meadowlarks Then pass through Maquam Bog—home to rare and unique plant species such as rhodera, pitch pine and the state threatened Virginia chain fern.  The trail ends in a forest near Maquam Bay.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Jeep Trail

    4 miles (6.5 km) round trip, 3 hours

    (Open August 1—April 1)

    Walk quietly along this mowed trail and you may see a deer, mink or osprey within the peaceful floodplain forest.  Great blue herons wade along the shoreline looking to snack on fish, frogs, and tadpoles.  A prime habitat for nesting birds, this trail is closed during the spring and early summer.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Trail Guidelines:

    • Open sunrise to sunset
    • Foot traffic only
    • Stay on the path at all times
    • Carry out your trash
    • Plant and animal harvesting allowed by permit only
    • Dogs allowed on a leash

     

    Refuge Trail Card Challenge: walk all the trails on the refuge, punch your trail card and get a free patch at the refuge office.  More information here. For a printable trail card click here.

    Related Documents

    The Missisquoi NWR has a variety of maps and fact sheets to help visitors explore the refuge. Since the refuge has areas which are managed as sanctuary units and are closed to the public it is important to review refuge maps, fact sheets and brochures before visiting the refuge. The refuge manages one unit in New York, the Westville Unit and co-manages another property with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the Eagle Point Unit. Each of these units have their own fact sheets detailing the public use activities and other regulations.

    waterfowl map

    Missisquoi NWR map of areas open to waterfowl hunting

    Hunt fact sheet 2018_0

    Rules and regulations for hunting big game and upland game on Missisquoi NWR.

    3-2357_migratory bird hunt applicastion

    Missisquoi NWR application for controlled waterfowl hunting

    big game report

    Missisquoi NWR big game hunting report

    3-2362_upland small game report

    Missisquoi NWR Upland and Small Game report

    BlackCreekTrail_0

    Brochure for the Black Creek and Maquam Creek Trail at Missisquoi NWR

    Education Trip Request Form_1

    A form to request an educational visit with refuge staff at Missisquoi NWR

    Educators guide final reduced size_1

    A document which provides teachers and other educators information about conducting a field trip with students to the Missisquoi NWR

    missiquoi trails updated 2019_2

    Map and description of Missisquoi NWR's trail system

    Fishing_0

    Missisquoi NWR Guide to Fishing

    Missisquoi Bird Brochure_1

    Bird checklist for Missisquoi NWR

    MissisquoiGenBrochure_0

    General Brochure of the Missisquoi NWR

    The Refuge Trail Challenge_0

    The refuge trail challenge describing how to earn a patch by walking all refuge trails.

    trailcardprintable_0

    A printable trail card for the refuge trail card challenge

    waterfowl hunting info sheet_0

    Information and refuge regulations on hunting migratory birds.

    open_ closed areas_0

    A map showing areas of the Missisquoi NWR which are closed to all public uses and areas which are open to public uses.

    Hunting open and closed areas_Missisquoi NWR

    A map showing areas which are open during hunting seasons and areas which are closed on the Missisquoi NWR.

    Missisquoi Boating Guide _reduced_0

    Missisquoi NWR Guide to Boating on the refuge.

    Areas closed to boating on Missisquoi NWR

    Westville fact sheet

    Information sheet on the Westville unit of the Missisquoi NWR

    Eagle Point WMA fact sheet_0

    Fact sheet for the Eagle Point Unit of Missisquoi NWR

    Rules and Policies

    There are lots 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 Missisquoi NWR for you to enjoy. Be safe and have fun!

    Locations

    Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge
    29 Tabor Road Swanton, VT 05488-8159
    Hours
    Refuge Office and Visitor Center Hours
    Monday - Friday
    7am - 3:30pm
    Summer Weekend Hours - Saturday and Sunday
    10 am - 3:00 pm