Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge


(608) 539-2311

Map Directions

Things To Do


This 6,200-acre refuge lies within the Mississippi flyway, along the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin. It is an isolated backwater, cut off from the Mississippi and Trempealeau rivers by dikes, providing needed resting and feeding areas for waterfowl and other birds. The refuge is situated in a unique geological formation known as the driftless area. Thousands of years ago, glaciers surrounded but did not pass over the land. Blown into mounds, sand and silt from melting glaciers formed the rolling sand prairies of the refuge. Wetlands are a prominent feature. Before the railroads arrived and the locks and dams were built, the lands within the refuge were part of the Mississippi River. As such, these backwaters experienced floods and droughts. Today, using dikes and control structures, managers can mimic this natural cycle by lowering the water to expose mudflats and allow plants to germinate.

Map of Trempealeau NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 44.045895, -91.535854



  • Boating

    Hand powered crafts and boats with electric motors can be launched at the landing near Kieps Island.

  • Bird Watching

    263 bird species have been recorded at the refuge. Birdwatchers may spot yellow-rumped warblers, orchard orioles, white pelicans, blue-winged teal and ring-necked ducks.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The refuge has a four mile loop drive that will acquaint you with the three major plan communities on the refuge: sand prairie, blackwater marsh, and hardwood forest. Guide booklets are available at the refuge.

  • Fishing

    Bullheads, Northern Pike, Panfish and Yellow Perch are caught in the refuge's waters. Hand powered crafts and boats with electric motors can be launched at the landing near Kieps Island.

  • Hiking

    Accessible trails are available that lead to the observation deck and through a loop of the prairie view trail.

  • Hunting

    Details about programs for disabled hunters and hunting permits are available at the refuge office.

  • Wildlife Watching

    In addition to copious birds, the refuge is home to white-tailed deer, wild turkey, fox, otter, bald eagles and beaver.

  • Winter Sports

    Ski four miles of backcountry trails in the Mississippi River flyway. Guided cross-country ski tours are available. Snowshoes are free for use on site.

Park Partners

Friends of Trempealeau Refuge

The Friends of Trempealeau Refuge, Inc. is committed to providing an independent citizen voice for the protection, conservation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife and their habitats at Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. The Friends will promote public awareness and appreciation of the Refuge; foster thoughtful, appropriate, and compatible public use and enjoyment of Refuge lands; and support environmental education and interpretation programs that benefit citizens of all ages and abilities. The Friends of Trempealeau Refuge, Inc. is dedicated to building an independent organization, formed and managed by local citizens.



From Winona, MN: Take Rt. 43 across the Mississippi River into Wisconsin. Turn right onto Rt. 54 east. Travel 5.7 miles, and take a right onto West Prairie Road. Refuge entrance is on the right after about one mile. From LaCrosse, WI: Take Rt. 53 north to Rt. 54 west. Follow 54 west to Centerville and continue 3.1 miles to West Prairie Road. Turn left on West Prairie Road and drive one mile to refuge entrance.

Phone Numbers


(608) 539-2311