Idaho National Wildlife Refuges
Idaho is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse wildlife in the United States. From majestic elk herds to soaring eagles, the state is teeming with life. Thankfully, there are many national wildlife refuges scattered throughout Idaho that provide a safe haven for these animals. Let’s take a closer look at three of Idaho’s most popular national wildlife refuges.
Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southeast part of Idaho and is surrounded by tall mountains, particularly the rocky slopes of Merkley Mountain. The mountain provides a perfect habitat for the many different species of animals that live in the area. The refuge was established in 1968 and covers about 18,000 acres. It’s located in a very remote part of Idaho, so it’s the perfect place to get away from the city. Visitors can find a variety of different trails to explore, and there are also several educational programs offered at the refuge. It’s a nice opportunity to learn about the local wildlife.
The lake itself is a popular spot for fishing — it’s home to several types of fish, including rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout. In other words, it is a great fly fishing destination. You’ll want to bring your fishing rod and perhaps your fly fishing waders with you during the spring when the water is cool and the fish are biting. In the air the refuge has dozens of species of birds, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds. You can also find a wide variety of mammals, such as deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and coyotes. The best time to see these animals is in the early morning or late evening, when they’re the most active.
One of the best things about the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge is that it’s open most of the year, so you can visit anytime you want. However, the best time to see the animals is in the spring and summer — they tend to be more out and about during this time! We recommend bringing a pair of binoculars so you can get a good look at the animals without getting too close. Also, pack a windbreaker jacket even if visiting in the summer. The weather can change quickly around there.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and take in the stunning scenery, Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect spot. With its clear blue waters and majestic mountains, it’s easy to see why this place is such a popular destination. So, whether you’re looking to fish, hike, have a picnic with the family, barbecue, or just take in the incredible views, visiting the refuge is a must-visit!
Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest
Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest is located in the Clearwater Basin of Northern Idaho. An abundance of wildlife call it home, including elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bears, cougars, and even wolves! The forest is also a haven for birdwatchers, as it holds hundreds of species of birds.
The refuge was established in 1908 as a place to protect the area’s wildlife and forests. Today, it’s a popular destination for hikers, campers, and wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. One of the best ways to experience the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest is by taking a scenic drive through it. The forest has many beautiful overlooks and hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
The forest covers over four million acres of land that’s filled with fisheries, timber harvests, and exciting wilderness. There are some mining operations in the area, but they are heavily regulated to ensure nothing negatively impacts the wildlife or ecology of the forest. In regards to water, Nez-Perce Clearwater has some of the highest-quality drinking water in the United States with plenty of rivers and creeks.
If you’re looking for a place to see some of Idaho’s most majestic creatures, the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest is definitely worth a visit. While you’re here, why not pack-in a lightweight tent and spend a night or two camping under the stars? There’s nothing quite like falling asleep to the sound of elk bugling in the distance!
Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area
The Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area is located in the southwest part of the state. Although there are plenty of animals, the most popular inhabitants of the refuge are the birds of prey (hence the name!). The best time to see these magnificent creatures is in the spring and summer when they are actively nesting.
The wildlife refuge consists of over 480,000 acres of land, making it one of the largest in Idaho. It was created recently, in 1993, to help protect the large number of birds of prey that live in the area. Visitors can find eagles, hawks, ravens, swallows, falcons, and more. Of course, you can also see elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope.
The best way to explore the refuge is by hiking or horseback riding through the many trails. You can bring pets with you, just be sure to keep them on a leash.
And don’t forget to bring your pair of binoculars to get a closer look at the birds of prey! If you plan on taking pictures, make sure to use a telephoto lens as the birds tend to stay out of range. With the beautiful scenery filled with tall grasses and wildflowers, you’re sure to have a memorable experience at this national wildlife refuge. The refuge also offers many different hiking and biking trails, so there are plenty of opportunities to explore the area.