Birding the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Directions: Exit I-15 at Monida and travel 28 miles east through the Centennial Valley to the refuge headquarters at Lakeview.

General information: The Red Rock Lakes NWR was established in 1939 for protection of the, then very rare, Trumpeter Swan. The refuge headquarters, located at Lakeview, offers a small visitor center with wildlife displays and brochures. Dirt roads may not be drivable after heavy rains. There is no gasoline available along the route. Upper Lake Campground, located just 3 miles east of the refuge headquarters is an excellent spot for birding due to its mixture of lakeside habitats.

Habitats: Centennial Valley is primarily open grassland and sagebrush with isolated stands of willows and aspens. At Red Rock Pass (Continental Divide) one finds conifer forest habitat interspersed with patches of aspen. Willow habitat is found along streams, lakeshores and marshes throughout the refuge.

Species of note: Trumpeter Swan, Greater Sage-Grouse, Western Grebe, American White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White-faced Ibis, Bald Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Sandhill Crane, Willet, Long-billed Curlew, Wilson’s Phalarope, Franklin’s Gull, Caspian Tern, Black Tern, Rufous Hummingbird, Red-naped Sapsucker, Western Wood-Pewee, Dusky Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Clark’s Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Mountain Bluebird, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Western Tanager, Brewer’s Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and Bullock’s Oriole.

Best viewing seasons: June - July for breeding birds; August - September for shorebirds and migrants.

Download the Southwest Montana Birding Brochure

Red Rock Lakes NWR
Monida Star Route
Box 15
Lima, MT 59739
(406) 276-3347
Red Rock Lakes NWR