Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Quick Facts

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge


(435) 723-5887

Map Directions

Things To Do


Historically, the marshes of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge have been an oasis of water for waterfowl and shorebirds surrounded by arid desert lands. As a key part of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem, the Refuge provides habitat for more than 200 species of birds making it a popular birding hotspot in northern Utah. In spring, summer, and fall, visitors can view American avocets, black-necked stilts, white-faced ibis, and a host of other shorebird, waterfowl, and water bird species. Disaster struck in 1983 when the Refuge was reduced to ruins by flooding from the Great Salt Lake. One hundred year storm events in two consecutive years, accompanied by cool summers, raised the lake level causing Refuge marshes to be inundated with salt water, destroying existing vegetation and Refuge facilities. It wasn't until 1989 that flood waters receded to the point that restoration of the Refuge could begin. Refuge staff and many dedicated volunteers worked tirelessly to rebuild dikes, roads, and control structures to allow flushing of the impoundments with fresh river water. Today, vegetation is growing once again, insect populations have returned with vigor, and birds occur in impressive numbers. The new visitor center has been open since 2006 and offers educational exhibits as well as guides to get your adventure going.

Map of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Latitude, Longitude: 41.509863, -112.064838



  • Bird Watching

    The birding is excellent all year-round on the Refuge, but reaches its peak during spring and fall migration. Over 270 bird species have been recorded on the Refuge, and 75 or more species are known to breed here.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The refuge's auto tour route is open during daylight hours 365 days a year, weather permitting. The route is a one-way road so please be respectful of other visitors and pull to the side of the road if you wish to stop and observe or take photographs. The River Delta Interpretive Site does have a security gate. If the gate is closed as you go to exit, pull slowly to the gate and it will open to allow your exit.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is allowed on the Refuge only at three locations: Refuge lands along the main Bear River channel upstream from the River Delta Interpretive Area; Refuge lands accessible from West Forest Street along the Reeder Canal; and Refuge lands north of West Forest Street along the Whistler canal. Maps and additional regulations are included in the Hunting and Fishing Regulations which can be accessed through the refuge website.

  • Hunting

    Ducks, geese, coots, tundra (whistling) swans and pheasants may be hunted as described in the Hunting and Fishing Regulations for Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.



The Refuge is located approximately 50 miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah. It can be reached from Interstate 15 by taking the Forest Street exit at Brigham City and driving west 13 miles. A wildlife education center is located along Forest Street just one block west of the Interstate. Begin your refuge experience there!

Phone Numbers


(435) 723-5887