Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

New York

(315) 568-5987

Map Directions

Things To Do


Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is located at the north end of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State and offers numerous opportunities to explore nature and is recognized as an important birding area in New York, as well as a Globally Important Bird Area. It was established on September 12, 1938 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge provides resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds. Montezuma is situated in the middle of one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway.

Currently, the refuge consists of more than 8,000 acres as efforts to restore and preserve the marsh continue with the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. This project involves the Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, conservation organizations, corporations, and private landowners, all working together to restore and enhance wetland habitats and the populations of wetland-dependant wildlife on 36,050 acres of the former Montezuma Marsh. The Montezuma Wetlands Complex is part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that seeks to restore, conserve, and enhance wetland habitats and waterfowl populations throughout North America.

Map of Montezuma NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 42.984379, -76.769722



  • Boating

    Although fishing and boating are prohibited in refuge waters, the refuge maintains a boat launch providing access to the state-owned Barge Canal. This site also provides bank fishing opportunities.

  • Bird Watching

    The National Audubon Society recognized the Montezuma Wetlands Complex as its first Important Bird Area in New York, as well as a Globally Important Bird Area. 242 species of birds have been noted at the refuge including bald eagles, waterfowl and many species of shorebirds.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The refuge contains a 3-mile, one-way auto-tour route that traverses the edge of the refuge's Main Pool, ending at NY State Route 89. Visitors can see a wide variety of wildlife from ducks, geese, herons, shorebirds, songbirds, bald eagles, other birds of prey, and possibly turtles, muskrat, beaver, white-tailed deer, and red fox.

  • Fishing

    Although fishing and boating are prohibited in refuge pools, the refuge maintains a fishing pier (meets ADA standards) at May's Point, off NYS Route 89N, as well as a boat landing/seasonal dock along the NYS Barge Canal, just north of the U.S. Route 20 bridge located east of the Refuge entrance road. A NYS DEC boat launch is located on U.S. Route 20, opposite the Refuge entrance road. All NY state regulations apply when fishing and boating.

  • Hiking

    The refuge has six 3/4-one mile long walking trails, one of which is accessible, which highlight the different habitats, flora, and fauna of the area.

  • Hunting

    The refuge holds an annual waterfowl hunt from mid-October through early December. Season dates and harvest limits are released each year in late September.

    The refuge holds an annual white-tailed deer hunt from November through mid-December. New York State and special Refuge regulations apply.


The refuge is open during daylight hours seven days a week.

The Visitor Center is open April 1 - November 30 (weekends only in November); on weekends 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and weekdays from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Visitors should call 315-568-5987 to check staffing). A section of the Visitor Center containing maps and brochures is always open. The Visitor Center contains exhibits, leaflets and brochures, a film library, and restrooms. The upper deck is equipped with a telescope to enhance wildlife viewing. The 3.5 mile Wildlife Drive opens in April and closes once ice and snow create hazardous travel conditions. Snow, ice and poor road conditions generally keep the road closed during the winter and early spring months.

Park Partners



The refuge entrance is located on NY 5 & US 20 between Seneca Falls and Auburn and is just minutes from Exit 41 on the New York State Thruway. From exit 41, turn right onto NY 414. At the first stop light, turn left onto NY 318 and follow for approximately 5 miles to the end of NY 318. Turn left onto NY 5 & US 20 and follow for 1.25 miles; turn left into the refuge entrance.

Phone Numbers


(315) 568-5987