Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana.

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) lies in the high-elevation Centennial Valley and contains primarily wetland and riparian habitats. Red Rock Creek flows through the upper end of the valley, creating the impressive Upper Red Rock Lake, River Marsh, and Lower Red Rock Lake marshlands. The rugged Centennial Mountains border the Refuge to the south; they catch the winter snows that replenish the Refuge's lakes and marshes. This minimally-altered natural and diverse habitat provides for species such as trumpeter swans, moose, sandhill cranes, curlews, peregrine falcons, eagles, numerous hawks and owls, badgers, wolverines, bears, pronghorn, and wolves (in the backcountry). Native fish such as Arctic grayling and west-slope cutthroat trout thrive in this environment. Red Rock Lakes NWR is designated a National Natural Landmark, as well as one of the few marshland Wilderness Areas in the country. As such, the Refuge staff manages the land for its wilderness value, where humans are visitors with minimal permanent impact on the landscape, and the wildlife lives with minimal human interaction. Formal trails are not designated or maintained. In keeping with the wilderness spirit, visitors can see the country the way wildlife sees it and follow the numerous trails and tracks made by moose, elk, and deer.

Nearby Activities


From Interstate 15 at Monida, Montana, the Refuge headquarters is 28 miles east on an improved (partially graveled) dirt road. From West Yellowstone, follow U.S. 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. Fill your tank for the 100-mile round trip to the Refuge.

Additional Information