Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah.

Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located on the southern end of the Great Salt Lake Desert, was established March 10, 1959 by the land purchase of 2,160 acres using proceeds from Federal Duck Stamp sales, thus ensuring habitat for migrating and wintering birds within the Pacific Flyway. Fish Springs NWR became one of the over 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System - a network of lands set aside and managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service specifically for wildlife. The Refuge is named for the native Utah chub that is found throughout the Refuge springs and impoundments. Fish Springs has been a place of essential importance in meeting human and wildlife needs over the past 11,000 years and supplied necessary water and food to the once nomadic Goshute (Gosiuta) tribe as they traveled their ancestral homelands. 

Totaling 17,922 acres, the Refuge supports 10,000 acres of lush, spring-fed wetlands, a critical habitat in the arid Great Basin. These life-sustaining waters that make Fish Springs a true oasis in the desert are created by artesian pressure and hydrothermal convection along fracture zones in the Great Basin Carbonate Rock and Alluvial Aquifer. The water from the springs is brackish and warm. The springs discharge approximately 22,000 – 27,000 acre-feet of water per year, most of which is recharged from areas outside the Fish Springs Flat.

Activities and Experiences

Nearby Activities


From Salt Lake City via the Pony Express Route:

(Plan on about 3 hours travel time.)

From Salt Lake City via Lynndyl:

(May cause longer travel time, but reduces unpaved road distance.)

Please consult paper maps of the area for alternative routes.

Know before you go:

Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of the most isolated Refuges in the lower 48 states and is 75 miles from the closest town with any services. Travel requires driving 25 to 80 miles of gravel roads. Visiting the Refuge requires a long drive on unpaved roads without nearby food, gas or other services.

Travel Tips

You can take precautions to ensure that your trip to Fish Springs NWR will be a safe and pleasant one. Things to consider are gasoline, tires, food and water, weather and driving safety.

Warning !

Additional Information