Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana.


Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge has often been called the most beautiful National Wildlife Refuge in the United States. The rugged Centennial Mountains, rising roughly 10,000 feet and running from east to west, provide a dramatic backdrop for this extremely remote Refuge in Southwest Montana's Centennial Valley.

The Refuge encompasses primarily high mountain and high elevation wetland-riparian habitat - the largest in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and is located near the headwaters of the Missouri River. Numerous creeks flow into the Refuge creating Upper Red Rock Lake, the River Marsh, and Lower Red Rock Lake. The snows of winter replenish the Refuge’s lakes and wetlands that provide secluded habitat for many waterfowl, shorebirds, and wetland birds including trumpeter swans, white-faced ibis, and black-crowned night herons. The Refuge also includes wet meadows, riparian creek edges, willow fen, cool season grasslands, sage-steppe, and mountain forest habitats. This diversity provides habitat for other species such as sandhill cranes, long-billed curlews, bald and golden eagles, hawks, warblers, moose, elk, badgers, bears, wolves, mountain lions, martens, pronghorn, and native fish such as Arctic grayling and westslope cutthroat trout. 

Over 60% of the Refuge is designated as wilderness.  Some important information about the Refuge wilderness:



Nearby Activities



Red Rock Lakes Refuge can be reached from the west on Interstate 15 in Montana (turn at the Monida Exit 0 off-ramp towards South Valley Road). From the east, take US 20 in Idaho and exit at the Red Rock Road and follow the signs west to the Refuge. The distance to the Refuge Headquarters is about 28 miles from either direction. The road is a wide dirt and gravel road maintained only from about May through October. Access is limited or impossible due to snow after these dates. Careful consideration should also be taken if it has been rainy. Large motorhomes are not recommended due to rough road conditions in some places.

Additional Information