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Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Lima Montana

Listing Type: Wildlife Refuge
City: Lima Montana
Region: Southwest Montana

Red Rock Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located in the extreme southwest portion of Montana near the Idaho border. The Centennial Mountains rise steeply to the south providing a scenic atmosphere.

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 to protect the rare trumpeter swan. Today, the Refuge continues to be one of the most important habitats in North America for these majestic birds.

Here you will find abundant opportunities to hike, fish, take pictures, and observe a variety of wildlife and flowers, but at our 6,600-foot elevation, we recommend sturdy footwear, warm clothing, rain gear, and good binoculars and spotting scope for optimum enjoyment. Please read the following regulations carefully; it should answer most of your questions. While visiting the Refuge, feel free to stop by the headquarters in Lakeview and take a look at our impressive Trumpeter Swan display. The Refuge is open year round from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and closed on Federal holidays.

In the evening you can listen to the rare trumpeter swans call. Although many game animals roam the refuge (moose, deer, antelope), this is primarily a bird sanctuary, providing habitat for over 230 species of birds. Bird-watching is prime with 50,000 ducks and geese and up to 2,000 whistling swans gathering in early fall. Springtime provides nesting grounds for the sandhill cranes.

Two primitive campgrounds are maintained within the Refuge. The Upper Lake Campground has trees, toilets, potable spring water, fire rings, and picnic tables and is close to mountain hiking and aspen wildlife viewing. The Lower Lake Campground is an open grassland with toilets and fire rings, and is the best place to see water birds. There is no electrical power at either campground.

Wheelchair-accessible facilities and toilets are available at the headquarters and Upper Lake Campground. Camping is permitted for a maximum of 14 consecutive days at both campgrounds. Camping is not permitted outside established campgrounds. Fires are permitted only in campground grates. Firewood is not provided; however, dead or downed timber can be collected nearby. Chain saws are prohibited. The campground is rarely filled and fees are not charged. The Refuge does not take reservations; camping is on a 'first come, first serve' basis. Please pack your trash.

Directions: The best time to visit the Refuge is from May through September. Refuge headquarters can be reached by turning off Interstate 15 at Monida, Montana, and driving 28 miles east on an improved (partially graveled) dirt road. If you are coming from West Yellowstone, follow US Highway 20 for about 12 miles west to the junction with Montana Highway 87. Travel northwest on Montana 87 for 5 miles and turn south at the Sawtell historical marker. Follow the paved road around the west shore of Henry's Lake for approximately 5 miles onto Red Rock Pass Road (improved dirt road), following it west for about 25 miles to the Refuge entrance. The round trip through the Refuge averages about 100 miles.

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
, Lima, MT 59739

  • Nature Area
  • Bird Watching
  • Environmental
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Hiking
  • Handicapped Accessible

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