Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Located on the namesake Medicine Lake in the northeast part of Montana, the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a terrific getaway for nature lovers. Between the Missouri River and the Canadian border, the refuge was established in 1935, providing a safe breeding and stopover habitat for a number of migratory birds.

Photo by Jamieson Scott/U.S. Fish & Wildlife (

Since the refuge was established, the bird list includes 283 species seen in the area. The refuge is central to the breeding ranges of the prairie songbirds endemic to the northern Great Plains, such as the grasshopper sparrow, Baird’s sparrow, chestnut-collared longspur and Savannah sparrow. Obviously, bird watching is a favorite activity among visitors. Ducks, geese, swans, great blue herons and all sorts of other waterfowl are at Medicine Lake as well.

On land, you’ll find 38 species of mammals – from white-tailed jackrabbits and beavers to muskrats and badgers. 

Walk-in hunting is available, as is fishing. Since Medicine Lake is a wilderness area, no motorized boats are allowed. It’s a very quiet experience that you’ll mostly have to yourself and hundreds of your closest flying friends.