Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, Montana

Bitterroot Valley Montana
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Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

With close to 3,000 acres of habitat, the Lee Metcalf National Refuge is the perfect place to witness the wonders of nature as waterfowl and tree-nesting birds migrate to this protected habitat year after year.

  • Over 200 different bird species have been documented.
  • Located just north of Stevensville, Montana.
  • View nesting birds and their young up close from the nature trail.
  • The refuge is named after former senator Lee Metcalf, an avid bird lover, who worked hard to preserve Montana's natural environment.


Originally created to provide a sustainable and protected habitat for migratory birds, the Lee Metcalf National Refuge has evolved to include tree-nesting birds and mammals. Established in 1963 and encompassing 2,800 acres, this refuge is a great place to witness tree-nesting birds such as geese and osprey as well as waterfowl like the shy wood duck and Mallards.

The sound of song birds will accompany your viewing experience. If your lucky you may even spot a slithering mink, coyote or muskrats that now also call the refuge home.


The refuge is nestled between the majestic Sapphire Mountains to the east and the Bitterroot Mountains to the west, just north of Stevensville, Montana.

4567 Wildfowl Lane
Stevensville, MT   59870
E-mail: leemetcalf@fws.gov
Phone Number: 406-777-5552


Visitor Center Hours
8am to 4:30pm Monday thru Saturday

The Wildlife Viewing Area is open dawn to dusk, year round.


The refuge allows you to witness the evolution of nature. As nesting sights are established, migration occurs, or predators stalk their prey, this habitat gives you the opportunity to see it all. Walk the trails, sit quietly and observe the wildlife, or take a course to learn more.

The interactive options available at the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge are sure to have something for every member of your group. Pack a lunch and make a day out of it.

Bird Watching
The Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge is a bird watchers paradise. Escape the noise and commotion of the city, bring your binoculars and watch the wonders of nature unfold in front of you.

Visit during early April to witness the Osprey harass the nest poaching geese, as they strive to regain control of their high perching nests.

Nature Trails
The three mile nature trail will take you along the Bitterroot River allowing you to view wildlife up close and to experience different habitats; including river bottom woodlands and sprawling meadows.

A ½ mile portion of the trail is handicap accessible. In addition, Wildfowl Lane cuts through the refuge allowing you great scenic views from the car window.

Fishing is allowed along Refuge Viewing Area. Within the refuge catch and release fishing is practiced. Don't forget a fishing license!

Established blinds are set up within the refuge as designated areas for waterfowl hunting, specifically ducks, geese, and coots. In addition, archery hunting of white-tailed deer is also allowed in designated areas.

Contact the refuge for information regarding hunting season and guidelines.

Educational Programs
The Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect backdrop for an outdoor classroom. Courses are offered year round for persons of all ages. Check the calender for a course that fits your interest.