hikers

Stretching nearly 70 miles along the Minnesota River from Fort Snelling to Henderson, the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a unique resource accessible to more than 3 million residents of the expanding Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The Refuge covers 14,000 acres of land and water, providing valuable habitat for a diversity of waterfowl and other migratory birds, fish and resident wildlife.


The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge also manages a 14 county Wetland Management District  with more than 8,000 acres of land dedicated to wildlife and wildlife-dependent recreation. The District includes more than 25 waterfowl production areas and 50 easements. Each of these relatively small areas is critically important to migrating, breeding and nesting waterfowl. They also provide habitat for grassland birds, such as meadowlark and bobolink, and a variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and other creatures.

Watch this introductory video of the Refuge, then explore its website to plan your visit. 

Numerous distinctive units of the Refuge and Wetland Management District range from urban to suburban and rural. They offer a variety of free wildlife-related recreational opportunities, from hiking, interpretation, bird-watching and photography to hunting and fishing.

Printable maps that detail access points, parking lots and trails on each of the Refuge Units and Waterfowl Production Areas are available on the Refuge website

Hunting is allowed on many Refuge Units and all Waterfowl Production Areas. The Refuge’s current hunting brochure includes maps and regulations.

The website for the Wetland Management District provides hunting rules and regulations for the Waterfowl Production Areas.


Two Refuge Education and Visitor Centers are open to the public and available for school and other groups for educational purposes. They are located in east Bloomington (3815 East American Boulevard) and near Carver (15865 Rapids Lake Road). For hours of operation and directions, visit the Refuge website.

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