Horicon National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Horicon National Wildlife Refuge


(920) 387-2658

Map Directions

Things To Do


Over 21,000 acres in size, Horicon National Wildlife Refuge is located on the west branch of the Rock River in southeastern Wisconsin and encompasses the northern two-thirds of Horicon Marsh. Horicon Marsh is a shallow, peat-filled lakebed gouged out by the Wisconsin Glacier about 12,000 thousand years ago. The headwaters of the Rock River, Horicon Marsh is 14 miles long and three-to-five miles wide. Branches of the Rock River, small and intermittent streams, and groundwater springs provide the water resources for the marsh.

Map of Horicon NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 43.567508, -88.617626



  • Bird Watching

    Vistiors can enjoy the sight of migrating Canadien geese in October and especially November. After the winter months, April and May provide a great opportunity to see duck and warbler as they sport colorful breeding plumage. During the summer, families of redheads, American Coots and yellow-headed blackbirds can be seen.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The Horicon TernPike Auto Tour Route and Hiking Trails located on State Highway 49, just east of the city of Waupun, is open daily year-round, weather permitting. Three hiking trails are located here along with a floating boardwalk and bicycling and hiking access to the Wild Goose State Trail.

  • Fishing

    Peachy Road, Ledge Road, and Main Dike Road offer designated locations for bank fishing opportunities for perch, pike, bullhead, and other game species.

  • Hiking

    Hikers are required to wear blaze orange while hiking as a safety precaution while visiting the refuge.

    The Highway 49 Wildlife Viewing Area is located on State Highway 49 just west of County Road Z and is open daily year-round and includes a short hiking trail with spotting scope. Two hiking trails are located at the Bud Cook Hiking Area on Point Road, just south of Highway 49 and County Road Z, along with an observation platform and spotting scope. This area is closed to all hunting.

    Main Dike Road is a two-level gravel road located off of County Road TW and is open daily, year-round, weather conditions permitting. The previously closed western portion of the road is now open year-round for hiking, bicycling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Access is limited to the road only. Visitors should park near the fishing platform at the end of the eastern portion to gain access.

  • Hunting

    The 32,000 acre Horicon Marsh is divided into the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area, managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The two areas have different regulations and different season dates for hunting. You are responsible for knowing the Federal refuge boundary and abiding by these regulations. For hunting information on the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area, please call the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at (920) 387-7860 or visit their website at http://dnr.wi.gov.

    Species and Season Dates

    Only the animals listed below may be hunted. No waterfowl hunting is allowed and due to pending State rules the deer seasons may be modified. The Refuge is located in Deer Management Units 68A (north of Hwy 49) and 68B (south of Hwy 49).

    Pheasant and partridge October 16 (noon) - December 31 Rabbit October 16 (noon) - February 28 Squirrel September 18 - January 31 Deer (Archery) September 18 - November 18 and November 29 - January 9 Deer (Gun) November 20 - November 28 Muzzleloader November 29 - December 8 Youth Deer Hunt October 9 and 10 Statewide Antlerless Deer Hunt December 9 - December 12 The Refuge will NOT be open for the antlerless gun hunt October 14-17.

    Youth Waterfowl Hunting

    No waterfowl hunting is allowed on the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. Youth may apply for a special youth waterfowl hunt, held each October on three different weekend mornings, in a designated area of the refuge. Youth must be between the ages of 12 and 18 and have attended both hunter safety and a waterfowl skills or Greenwings day. For more information on how to apply for this hunt, please call (920) 387-2658 ext. 12.

    Hunts for Hunters with Disabilities

    The Horicon National Wildlife Refuge offers two deer gun hunts and one archery hunt in a designated part of the refuge for hunters with disabilities. Both gun hunts require hunters to have a Class A, B or C permit. To be eligible for the archery hunt, hunters must have a Class A, B, C or crossbow permit which can be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Six hunting blinds are available for use.

    2010 season dates for the two gun hunts are October 2-10 and November 20-28. The archery hunt will be held October 30-November 7. Applications for the hunts can be obtained by calling (920) 387-2658 ext. 12 and deadlines are Sept 1 (archery), October 1, and November 1 (gun hunts).

    Closed and Restricted Areas

    Most of the refuge is open to the hunting of the above species. Please note the following closed areas and restricted areas with special regulations.

    Refuge areas closed to all hunting Viewing area - located near the intersection of State Highway 49 and County Road Z Refuge office/visitor center - located off County Road Z on east side of the marsh Bud Cook Hiking Area - located on Point Road on east side of the marsh Refuge restricted areas Horicon TernPike Auto Tour and hiking trails - open only during deer gun season, November 20-28 and antlerless hunt, December 9-12 Area between Point Road and Lehner Road (area for hunters with disabilities) - open to everyone during antlerless hunt, December 9-12. Open to hunters with disabilities by permit during deer gun season, October 2-10 and November 20-28 and for archery October 30-November 7. Area on west side of refuge, at intersection of Main Dike Road and State Highway 26 - open only to youth during pheasant season, October 16 (noon)-December 31. Rules and Regulations

    Access on the Refuge is restricted to an hour before to an hour after legal hunting hours.

    In addition to the prohibited activities listed in the Wisconsin Hunting Regulations pamphlet, the following activities are also prohibited on the refuge:

    Overnight camping or parking Open fires Blocking access to gates with vehicles Use of horses Use of motorized vehicles or ATV's Baiting Construction of permanent blinds or damage to trees Leaving portable blinds overnight Use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting Target practice Toxic shot when hunting small game Shining Boats Scouting

Park Partners

Friends of Horicon National Wildlife Refuge

The Friends of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge is a citizen-based, not-for-profit organization formed in 2001. The friends group supports and enhances educational and recreational programs, provides volunteer services, and offers financial assistance to Horicon National wildlife Refuge projects.

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Horicon National Wildlife Refuge is located in southeastern Wisconsin. It covers Dodge and Fond du Lac counties. State Highway 49 crosses the norther portion of the refuge. The visitor center is located on the east side of the marsh, 3.5 miles south of State Highway 49 on County Road Z. You may find that County Road Z is not marked on most state maps. It is the first road to intersect State Highway 49 on the northeast corner of the marsh. Look for brown and white directional signs on U.S. Highway 151, State Highway 49 and several state and county highways near the marsh.

Please be aware that the following directions do not take local construction, detours or other delays into account. Call 1-800 ROAD-WIS for current highway conditions.

From Milwaukee (approx. 1.5 hours driving time): Take Highway 45/41 north. Follow the signs for Highway 41 north. Exit at State Highway 49 (Waupun). Turn left at the end of the exit ramp. Follow State Highway 49 (about 8 miles) to Horicon Marsh. From Madison (approx. 1.5 hours driving time): Take U.S. Highway 151 north to the State Highway 49 exit (Waupun). Turn right at the end of the exit ramp and stay on State Highway 49 as it will take you right to the marsh, especially the hiking trails and auto tour. From Fond du Lac (approx. 30 minutes driving time): Simplest travel is from the interchange of Highways 41 and 151. Take U.S. Highway 151 south toward Waupun. Exit at State Highway 49. Turn left at the end of exit ramp. Proceed east on State Highway 49 to the refuge. (Alternative route: Travel on various county highways from Fond du Lac to Oakfield and south to State Highway 49.) From Chicago (approx. 3 hours driving time): Take Interstate 294 north. Follow the signs to Interstate 94 north. (I-294 will end and I-94 will begin on the same road.) Continue on I-94 to Milwaukee. Follow the I-894 bypass around Milwaukee. Follow the signs for Highway 45 north. Highway 45 will merge with Highway 41 and then Highway 45 will split off. Follow the signs for Highway 41. Exit State Highway 49 for Waupun. Turn left at the end of the exit ramp. Proceed west on State Highway 49 to Horicon Marsh. (Note: You could also take I-90 west to Rockford and Madison, the U.S. Highway 151 north to State Highway 49 - follow directions from Madison.)

Phone Numbers


(920) 387-2658