Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Nebraska

(308) 635-7851

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located approximately 28 miles north of Oshkosh, Nebraska, was established in 1931 as a waterfowl production and maintenance Refuge. It is located at the eastern edge of the Nebraska Panhandle in Garden County, on the southwestern edge of the 20,000 square mile Nebraska Sandhills. The sandhills are characterized by continuous grass and forb-covered dunes and swales and are considered to be the largest body of sand in the world, which is not a desert. Where the swales dip below the water table, sub-irrigated meadows, marshes, and lakes have formed. In most cases, no stream systems exist between wetlands. Many lakes are maintained solely by underground water sources. The 45,849-acre (71 square mile) Refuge is largely grasslands dotted with hundreds of permanent, semipermanent, and temporary wetlands.

Map of Crescent Lake NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 41.742115, -102.422962

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Activities

  • Boating

    Boating is permitted on Island Lake only. Internal combustion motors are prohibited.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    A 19-station self-guided auto tour route is a year-round attraction. Interpretive stops provide an opportunity to view upland and wetland areas, endangered species conservation efforts, and research activities. The tour route runs throughout the Refuge with leaflets available at all entrances.

    The best opportunities for photography generally occur by staying in your car as wildlife is less frightened by the presence of automobiles. A photography blind on a sharp-tail grouse dancing ground is available on a first-come reservation basis. Contact the Refuge staff to make reservations.

  • Fishing

    Island Lake is open to fishing year-round in accordance with state regulations. Smith and Crane Lakes are open for fishing from Nov 1 through Feb 15 only. The possession of or use of minnows (live or dead) is prohibited. Boating is permitted on Island Lake only. Internal combustion motors are prohibited.

  • Hunting

    Refuge hunting is permitted in accordance with applicable state and Federal regulations. A Nebraska hunting license (or, if appropriate, big game permit) and habitat stamp is required. Prairie grouse, pheasant, coyotes and deer may be hunted on those portions of the Refuge open to hunting during appropriate state regulated hunting seasons. Waterfowl hunting is offered in one designated area.

Directions

Driving

Crescent Lake NWR is located approximately 28 miles north of Oshkosh, Nebraska. From U.S. Highway 26, turn north on West Second. Proceed north out of town (oil road will convert to gravel), and follow directional signs to the Refuge headquarters. From U.S. Highway 2, turn south just east of Lakeside, Nebraska. Follow directional signs to the Refuge headquarters (approximately 28 miles).

Phone Numbers

Primary

(308) 635-7851

Links