Facility Activities

The refuge has a wide variety of activities for people of all ages, skills, abilities and outdoor interests. Many activities peak by season, but opportunities to get outdoors and experience nature are available year round. Hiking, photography, bird watching, wildlife watching, environmental education and ranger lead activities all offer new memories each season.

Bowhunters take to the woods in search of white-tailed deer on parts of the refuge from roughly mid-September into January.  Hunters also find solitude in the fresh air and a chance to connect with family traditions and the comradery that comes along with a day in the field. Learn more...

Over 230 different species of birds use the refuge each year.  Experience migration each spring and fall to see birds of all colors and sizes in their natural habitats. Species of interest include red-headed woodpeckers and bald eagles that can spend the whole year on the refuge. ...

Suk Cerney Flowage is the only refuge area open to motorized boats. Anglers, hunters, wildlife watchers and photographers can all take advantage of boats with motors to troll the small flowage during open water seasons.

Take a paddle and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the slow-moving waters of the refuge’s wetlands, rivers, and waterways of Goose, Sprague and Suk Cerney Flowages.

Goose and Sprague Pools are open June 1 to September 15 to paddling to allow migratory and nesting birds to...

Wax up your skis and break a trail on the 1.7 miles of White-tail Loop!

Ungroomed cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, birding and hiking are allowed refuge-wide, from December 15 through March 31, after migration has ended and as it begins.

While traditional geocaching (the burial or removal of "treasure") is generally not permitted at national wildlife refuges because it disturbs wildlife habitat, virtual geocaching may be allowed. In this variant, GPS coordinates lead to points of interest, such as cultural sites or exhibits,...

Warm water species such as northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch, bullhead, and black crappie are found in refuge waters. Fishing is permitted in Sprague and Goose Pools, June 1-September 15 and December 15-March 15. Suk-Cerney Flowage is open year-round, except during the...

Choose from six different trail systems that have miles of refreshing trails and boardwalks. Whether you want a short, easy walk like Muskrat Loop at the visitor center or a challenging hike like Boghaunter Trail you’re likely to find what you want. Some trails are paved and universally...

The largest public hunting area near Madison and Milwaukee, Necedah NWR has become a popular destination for many Wisconsin deer hunters. As many as 2,000 deer hunters visit the 45,000-acre refuge on opening day, with many returning year after year. While turkey hunting is not nearly as popular...

Painting and sketching in nature are ways to slow down and notice the intricacies of nature. Capture moments and details to bring home with you, then learn more about your subject matter and even share your eye for detail with others. We love to see art and journals inspired by nature. ...

Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you’ll find photo-worthy subjects at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. Necedah offers two year-round photo blinds, one on Boghaunter Trail and one on Lupine Loop to take photos from. Look up and down while hiking, photography...

Find the right mix of exploration, education and fun for your group!

Contact us for field trips, tours, hand-on activities or visiting your group at your site. We offer both in person and virtual programs that are mixtures of presentations, outdoor activities, and are designed to meet...

Hiking trails are open to runner and joggers as well as walkers. Township roads are also a scenic way to connect trail runs together for a full 5K. 

Have you ever wanted to try snowshoeing? Check out a pair from the visitor center for free! Youth and adult sizes can be borrowed between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm when we have more than three inches of snow.  Snowshoers are pointed to the Visitor Center Trail and Boghaunter Trail to get started...

Trapping occurs on this refuge

Restricted species trapping allowed by special use permit only.

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain...

Berry picking is the only foraging activity available at Necedah. Visitors are able to pick and eat berries from July 1-August 15. Blueberries, raspberries, elderberries, huckleberries and more are found on the refuge. Some berries are toxic and may make you ill. Always reference a trusted...

Wildlife viewing is the single most popular recreational use of the refuge. The refuge hosts plants and animals that have nearly vanished from the state. It contains two State Natural Areas and harbors the world’s largest population of endangered Karner blue butterflies. The refuge boasts the...