Area Information > Wisconsin Public Land > Juneau County  | Necedah National Wildlife Refuge

Visitor Center Trails

The Visitor Center Hiking Trail consists of two trails: the smaller Muskrat Loop of 0.25 miles and the larger Karner Loop 0.75 miles totaling 1 mile.  The trail starts right at the visitor’s center and takes you to the bridge over Rynearson Pool #1 where you can see anything from Painted Turtles to Canadian Geese to even fish.  From the bridge you can take a seat and observe the Wisconsin Wildlife through a fixed Spotting Scope by a park bench.  Walking farther into the refuge on a boardwalk you’ll hear the sounds of song birds, frogs and other swamp creatures.  Heading up the hill on the gravel path during certain times of the year you’ll see a wide variety of butterflies including the Karner Blue Butterfly which the trail loop was named after.  On top of the hill at one of the observation areas the trail gives you a 360 panoramic view of wetland and rolling terrain with wildlife all around.  Walking up to Rynearson Pool #2 on a long boardwalk among the wetland grasses the scenery is filled with frogs in the warmer months of the year.  Heading back to the Visitor’s Center you’ll pass the butterfly garden which is next to one of the Necedah Wildlife Refuge buildings.

Necedah National Wildlife Refuge

Overall, this Hiking Trail has probably the most diversity of all the Wildlife Refuges trails: Grasslands, Wetlands, Marsh, Swamps, Savanna, Types of Forest Trees, Insects, Reptiles, Amphibians, Migratory Birds, Waterfowl, Animals and even the trail itself with boardwalks, gravel, terrain and the bridge by the Visitor’s Center.

Karner Loop Hiking Trail

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Wisconsin National Wildlife Refuge

Types of Wisconsin Wildlife & Animals You might see on the Visitors Center Hiking Trail Loops

  • White-Tail Deer
  • Eastern Wildlife Turkey
  • Black Bear
  • Beaver
  • Musk Rats
  • Coyotes
  • Timber Wolves
  • Badgers
  • River Otters
  • Fishers
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks

Muskrat Loop Hiking Trail

Birds, Waterfowl, Hawks, Eagles, Cranes and Birds of Prey

  • Eastern Wildlife Turkey
  • Canadian Geese
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Ducks
  • Pelicans
  • Whooping Cranes
  • Sandhill Cranes
  • Bald Eagles
  • Wood Peckers
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Black Tern
  • Song Birds
  • Robins
  • Ring Necked Ducks
  • Mallard Ducks
  • American Wigeon
  • Redhead
  • Cardinals
  • Turkey Vultures
  • Osprey
  • Northern Harrier
  • Barred Owl
  • Golden Eagle
  • Red-Tailed Hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • Bobolink

Necedah Wildlife Refuge

Reptiles, Amphibians & Insects

  • Turtles
  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Snakes
  • Karner Blue Butterfly
  • Monarch Butterflies
  • Ringed Boghaurnter Dragonfly
  • Five Lined Skink
  • Green Darner
  • Milk Snake
  • Water Scopion
  • Brown Bats
  • Garden Snakes
  • Pine Snakes
  • Snapping Turtle
  • Painted Turtle

Many years ago glaciers were beginning to form The Central Wisconsin Swamp that later became what is now a natural refuge that is home to many varieties of plants and animals.  This area of Wisconsin has a history that is rich in Native American culture.  In 1939, President Roosevelt declared 43,000 acres of land in Wisconsin as the Necedah Migratory Waterfowl Refuge.  Part of this area is now the Necedah Wildlife Refuge. It is a popular branch in the National Wildlife Refuge System that contains over 500 refuges consisting of a whopping 92 million acres!  If you are to get the chance to visit this amazing landmark, the best time to view the different wildlife is either during early morning and/or evening.

The Necedah Wildlife Refuge entertains and educates about 150,000 visitors each year.  It is a haven for waterfowl, deer, turkeys, song birds, & other species.  Every year it hosts, “The Whooping Crane Festival,” which features a pancake breakfast, bus tours of the wildlife refuge, and much more fun for the whole family! (The Whooping Crane Organization has moved to Baraboo) But more than that, it creates an awareness of the uncertain future and delicate existence of the Whooping Crane in nature.  It is crucial to support of the efforts of the folks dedicated to help keep this spectacular species flourishing.  This will help ensure they will survive for the enjoyment of generations to come.

Necedah Wildlife Refuge Area Properties for Sale

WI Cabins & Homes for Sale Nearby the Refuge

Wisconsin Land & Acreage for Sale Nearby the Refuge

Other Area Public Land in Wisconsin

  • Buckhorn State Park
  • Sandhill State Wildlife Area
  • Meadow Valley Barrens State Natural Area
  • Yellow River Oxbows State Natural Area
  • Yellow River State Wildlife Area
  • Suk Cerney Peatlands State Natural Area
  • Blueberry Trail
  • Cranberry Creek Mound Group State Natural Area
  • Mill Bluff State Park
  • Necedah Pine-Oak Forest State Natural Area


Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
N11385 Headquarters Road
Necedah, WI 54646
(608) 565-3160 fax

Visitors Center Trails Necedah National Widlife Refuge