Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge


(406) 777-5552

Map Directions

Things To Do


Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located along the Bitterroot River in the scenic and historic Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. Surrounded by the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountain Ranges, the Refuge offers spectacular viewing opportunities of the landscape and wildlife. The Refuge was established in 1963 to provide habitats for migratory birds and a variety of other wildlife. The Refuge's 2,800 acres is home to 235 species of birds, 41 species of mammals, and 17 species of reptiles and amphibians. Common wildlife sightings on the Refuge include white-tailed deer, muskrats, bald eagles, ospreys, waterfowl, and neotropical birds. A series of artificial water structures creates a chain of ponds that attract a wide variety of migratory birds and other wildlife. The Refuge is named in honor of the late U.S. Senator Lee Metcalf, who had a lifelong commitment to conservation. Metcalf was a local high school graduate and was instrumental in the establishment of this Refuge and many others in the U.S.

Map of Lee Metcalf NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 46.507702, -114.083504



  • Auto/Motorcycle

    A county road (Wildfowl Lane) stretches through the Refuge providing scenic views of the surrounding landscape and abundant opportunities to view wildlife.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted along the slough and river in the Refuge's Wildlife Viewing Area. An accessible fishing shelter is located near the entrance. State fishing regulations apply; artificial lure and catch & release only.

  • Hiking

    There are 2 ½ miles of nature trails in the Refuge's Wildlife Viewing Area. The trails meander through meadows and river bottom woodlands along the Bitterroot River. The refuge is along the Glacial Lake Missoula National Geologic Trail and along two National Historic Trails - the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Nez Pierce Trail. The first half-mile of the Wildlife Viewing Area Nature Trail is paved and wheelchair-accesible.

  • Historic Sites

    Visit the Whaley Homestead. The house, built circa 1885, survives as an outstanding example of vernacular frontier architecture.

  • Hunting

    Archery hunting of white-tailed deer is permitted in designated areas of the Refuge. Hunting of ducks, geese, and coots is permitted from established blinds in designated areas of the Refuge. Though the land again belongs to nature, the house, several old foundations and the outbuildings chronicle the architectural development of this fertile valley.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The Wildlife Viewing Area includes a half-mile wheelchair accessible path, which leads to the Bitterroot River.



Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge is located 25 miles south of Missoula, Montana, and 2 miles north of Stevensville. From I-90, take U.S. Highway 93 south about 30 miles to Stevensville. At the Stevensville cut-off road (269), turn east. Travel 1 mile to Eastside Highway 203 and turn east. Travel 8 miles to Wildfowl Lane and turn north. The Refuge is 2 miles from the intersection.

Phone Numbers


(406) 777-5552