National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. When visiting Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge, you will have the opportunity to explore a variety of different habitats including wetland, riverine, forest and grasslands. The refuge has something to offer for everyone whether you are interested in checking off birds on your bird life list, harvesting wild game or simply burning some calories through outdoor silent sports. We encourage you to explore your public lands through different recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, photography, hiking, cross country skiing and seasonal programming.
Be sure to stop by the David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center where you can learn more about the historical, natural and cultural resources of the area through exhibits, murals, events, historical archives, trails and more.
Visitors are welcome to stop by the Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge office which is located in the David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center at 29270 County Highway G, Ashland, Wisconsin 54806. The office is located about half a mile west of the intersection of US Highway 2 and State Highway 13.
There is no charge to visit.
Restrooms are available inside of the David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.
Points of Interest
We encourage you to stop by the David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center to learn about the Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding public lands, including the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This is a great starting point for visitors to become more familiar with the refuge and the wildlife that live in the area. Explore the exhibits and murals or take a hike on the interpretive boardwalk trail. Check out the center website for activities and information on upcoming events and programs.
What To Do
If you have 15 minutes
Stretch your legs and tour the David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center. Talk with staff and explore the exhibits, murals or historical archives to learn more about the refuge, outdoor recreation opportunities in the area and Wisconsin history.
If you have one hour
Grab your binoculars and scope out the local wildlife. Spring and fall migration are excellent times for birding and adding to your bird life list!
Hike the Visitor Center Interpretive Nature Trails. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the northern forest and wetland habitats that the trails wind their ways through. The Boardwalk trail is three-quarters of a mile while the Aldo Leopold Trail is 1.2 miles in length.
If you have half a day or more
Explore your refuge lands through a variety of different recreational activities including hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, photography and seasonal interpretation programming. Consider having your conservation organization host an educational event at our Coaster Classroom.
Know Before You Go
When planning a visit to the Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge, it is important to wear appropriate footwear for hiking and exploring. Consider bringing water, food, binoculars, field guides, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and anything else that might make the outdoor experience more enjoyable.
We encourage visitors to stop by the David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center during regular business hours to pick up maps and brochures that may help plan their visit.
Refuge lands are open daily from dawn until dusk for approved activities.
Activities available at Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge include hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, interpretation, environmental education and photography. We encourage you to explore and enjoy your public lands through a variety of different recreational activities.
Although the refuge doesn’t have additional designated hiking trails, visitors are welcome to hike through refuge lands. There are interpretive nature trails available for use year round located at the David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visit Center.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge is a partner in the multi-agency David R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center - the gateway to experiencing and understanding the northern Great Lakes Region. Collectively, we partner with all entities at the center to offer opportunities for you to become more connected with the natural, historical and cultural world of the region through environmental education, interpretive programs, special events, exhibits and hands-on exploration. The center also serves as headquarters and contact station for the refuge.
A three-season, outdoor classroom facility is available for use to conservation partner organizations for environmental education, interpretive programming or other public events. The facility holds 20 to 25 people. A restroom facility is also available and open during planned events at this site.
Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge is part of the St. Croix Wetland Management District complex. The refuge manager is also the project leader for the district complex.
Rules and Policies
Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge is open to wildlife-dependent recreation including deer and waterfowl hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education, interpretation, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Hunting and fishing are subject to all applicable federal and state laws, except where posted with "Closed to Public Hunting" signs. Additional regulations may apply.
Special use permits are issued for compatible secondary uses such as research, utility right of way work and other related activities. Permits are also available for hunters with disabilities.
Contact the refuge office for more information.