Walk with the Friends of Patuxent and Team Whooping Crane at the National Wildlife Visitor Center .   The goal? To get thousands of people moving outdoors a distance of 5K in support of national wildlife refuges.          Get the whole story…

Cash Lake Seasonal Closure- Cash Lake entrance will be closed October 1st through April 1st. Fishing is not permitted at the lake during this time. Seasonal closures of some refuge areas are conducted to promote conservation of fish, birds and other wildlife. 

Created to conserve and protect wildlife and wildlands through research, Patuxent Research Refuge offers 13,000 acres of tranquil forest, meadow and wetlands amid a densely populated urban area. Countless birds, mammals, pollinators, amphibians, and more call it home. Immerse yourself in this natural world; visit and connect with your nature.

Visit Us

Whether walking trails or fishing pond, the sounds and sights of the eastern woods give serenity to the soul.

Our Two Entrances:

South Tract, also known as the Dan Ashe Division, hosts 5 miles of walking trails and two scenic lakes. It is also the site of the National Wildlife Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – closed on federal holidays.  The grounds are open sunrise to sunset every day.   Fishing and hunting is available seasonally. 

North Tract offers 25 miles of trail for walking, biking, and horseback riding. With less visitation than South Tract, North Tract offers a quiet atmosphere for those seeking solitude. The grounds and Visitor Information Station are open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. and are closed for federal holidays and occasionally for scheduled hunts.  

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Patuxent Research Refuge was established in 1936 by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and is the only wildlife refuge established to support wildlife research. Today the U.S. Geological Survey’s Eastern Ecological Science Center carries on the refuge’s rich tradition in scientific investigation.

      Biologically, the refuge is of regional importance in that it is home to many deep-forest song birds such as the Scarlet Tanager. Patuxent’s large areas of unbroken tree cover, rare in central Maryland, allows these birds to hide from predators.

      Currently, the refuge welcomes over 200,000 visitors per year and seeks to nourish their spirits as well as the wildlife of the area.

      What We Do

      Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It drives everything on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed lands and waters, from the purposes for which a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
      A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Learn more about national wildlife refuge
      is established, to the recreational activities offered, to the resource management tools used. Using conservation best practices, the Refuge System manages Service lands and waters to help ensure the survival of native wildlife species. 

      Our Organization

      Refuge Our Organization (Programs)

      A large bird with brown feathers, white head, and yellow beak flies against a pale blue sky
      The Migratory Bird Program works with partners to protect, restore and conserve bird populations and their habitats for the benefit of future generations by: ensuring long-term ecological sustainability of all migratory bird populations, increasing socioeconomic benefits derived from birds,...
      A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

      Our Species

      Bald eagle up close with wing raised

      A large raptor, the bald eagle has a wingspread of about seven feet. Adults have a dark brown body and wings, white head and tail, and a yellow beak. Juveniles are mostly brown with white mottling on the body, tail, and undersides of wings. Adult plumage usually is obtained by the sixth year. In...

      FWS Focus

      Get Involved

      As an organization dedicated to conserving wildlife and habitats, there are many ways for you to be involved. This could be as a volunteer, member of Friends of Patuxent, an intern, or working with the Youth Conservation Corp.

      Projects and Research

      The work that we conduct at the refuge focuses on understanding the needs of endangered species; developing strategies to combat climate change climate change
      Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

      Learn more about climate change
      impacts; and habitat management for a variety of species, including migratory birds. 

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is evaluating creation of a new national wildlife refuge to conserve currently unprotected, high priority fish and wildlife habitats across southern Maryland. 

      In collaboration with landowners, outdoor enthusiasts, conservation partners, and local communities, the Service proposes to identify lands for protection as part of the...