The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge was founded in 1976 to preserve and protect our beautiful river valley from being commercially developed so generations of families could enjoy the natural landscape, plants and wildlife. Stretching 70 miles with over 14,000 acres, it's home to thousands of animals and native plants. Before the Refuge was established, eagles could not be found. Now eagles flourish, with over 13 nests. The Refuge is also on the Monarch Butterfly flight path and plays a critical role in their lifecycle.
Ongoing restoration of habitats is a big part of the Refuge's purpose in preserving and protecting our natural world.
Bloomington Visitor Center is open Thursday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm. Visitors (and volunteers) have been very excited to see the store open! Please visit the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge website for the latest updates, including trail conditions.
Know Before You Go:
Visitor Center hours of operation vary seasonally. Before visiting either of our visitor centers, please call to make sure we are open. Staff may be working off-site conducting educational programs or out in the field. Both visitor centers are closed on all federal holidays, and may experience weather-related or other periodic closures. (Call for more information).
Trail conditions on the Refuge vary throughout the year. Be prepared, as you may encounter changes in trail conditions while hiking, including periodic flooding, wet or muddy areas, thorny vegetation, and rough ground. Bug spray, sunscreen, and drinking water are recommended during warm weather. Trails are not groomed in winter and may be snow-packed and icy. To protect wildlife, please stay on designated trails and keep pets leashed at all times while visiting the Refuge. Thank you, and enjoy your visit.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
3815 American Blvd. East
Bloomington, MN 55425
Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center
PLEASE NOTE: Temporarily closed. Scheduled field trips and programs are not affected by this temporary closure. Refuge lands and trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset.
15865 Rapids Lake Rd. (formerly Carver Highlands Dr.)
Carver, MN 55315
Explore our Refuge with the Discover Nature App:
Learn how to download this kid-friendly app here to explore the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.