Things to see and do

Winter Scenery

Swan River Mantas Madel 150x118

Winter provides some spectacular scenery and can be a serene experience on snowshoes or cross-country skis. The bold blue sky, crystal white snow, and frosty trees contrast with the dark water and conifers to provide excellent winter photography opportunities. Enjoy the winter here but be careful around ice and water.

Bald Eagle Viewing


Bald eagles have successfully nested on Swan River National Wildlife Refuge for many years. Look for them to arrive in February to begin nesting. One or two eaglets usually fledge in mid-May. Transient eagles also use the Refuge and up to eight eagles have been spotted at one time. You can contact the Refuge manager to report your observations.

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Signs of Spring

Water, Water Everywhere

Wilson's Phalarope 150x118

Most of Swan River National Wildlife Refuge consists of wetland/grassland habitat. Every spring, when snowpack begins to melt, run-off from Bond Creek, Yew Creek, and Spring Creek merge with the inundated Swan River and Swan Lake to flood large portions of the Refuge. Courtship behavior of waterfowl, shorebirds, and water birds will soon be the signs that spring has arrived.

About the Complex

Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Swan River National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Read more about the complex
About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS