Three refuges make up Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex: Anaho Island, Fallon, & Stillwater NWR. Main office: 3175 Freeman Lane, Fallon NV 80406. Phone: 775/423-5128.
Stillwater is managed as part of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Learn more about the complex, Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge – an Oasis in the Desert!
Stillwater NWR provides recreation opportunities to visitors who enjoy getting away from it all. Activities include viewing the unique geology and desert wildlife, waterfowl hunting, bird watching, and nature photography. Passenger vehicles are fine as long as roads are not wet or wash-boarded. Make sure to pack water, food, a cell phone or other signalling device, and first aid kit just in case. Even when dry, the roads can be tricky with loose rocks and gravel on a hard packed surface, watch your speed especially on turns.
The refuge is open daily. Visitors access the refuge via Hwy 50 going East through Fallon, turning left onto State Route 116 after 5 miles. This is also known as Stillwater Road, and leads directly to the main entry point for the refuge after 12 miles.
Once on the refuge, the pavement ends and the adventure begins! There are several designated public access roads within the refuge, and visitors must remain on these at all times. Any off-road travel is strictly prohibited and enforced. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only.
There are several public service features on Stillwater refuge, including 5 vault toilets at strategic locations; a covered pavilion with picnic tables and a viewing boardwalk with floating platforms on the Foxtail Lake driving tour loop; a short timeline path leading to a shaded observation deck with interpretive signs at Stillwater Point Reservoir; the 1.25 mi long Tule Trail interpretive path with rest benches, photo blind and interpretive trail signs; and the Paiute Path historic walk across from the Foxtail pavilion.
Boating is not allowed on the refuge outside of waterfowl hunt season, which is normally October – January. Except for Swan Check Lake, where non-motorized boating is allowed throughout the year. The refuge sanctuary, all areas south of Division Road, is closed to boating of any kind, if it floats its considered a boat and NOT allowed to be on these protected wetlands units. Boat launches are at several locations within the hunt zone, which is N of Division Rd., and are open only during waterfowl season.
Overnight stays are allowed in two areas within the refuge boundary – on E Division Rd, 3 miles off Hunter Rd., and about 9 miles North on Hunter Rd. The overnight area is just before you cross the canal near the Center Rd intersection. Both sites are near vault toilets, but that’s it for development and comfort – these are primitive sites with no other features! There are no fees for overnight stays, but there is a 7 day limit.
Hiking is allowed in all areas open to the public, as are wildlife observation and photography. Even though we encourage you to explore and discover, these activities should be limited during nesting season from April to July. If a parent bird is disturbed from the nest, it may not return and the young could die. Please use your best judgement in observing sensitive and vulnerable wildlife and birds in any natural area. Use a camera, spotting scope or binoculars to get up close to wildlife.
If you find any sick, injured, apparently orphaned/abandoned wildlife, please do not pick it up! It is against the law to move or transport most wild animals found on the refuge; please contact the main refuge office at 775/423-5128 immediately, or call the NV Dept of Wildlife at 775/423-3171.
Sport hunting is permitted on the refuge in accordance with all NV state and federal regulations. Hunters should consult the Nevada state hunting regulations. Refuge-specific hunting regulations may also apply.
Firearms and other weapons are subject to state law. At all times, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the refuge must comply with all provisions of state law. Firearms may only be discharged in accordance with refuge hunting regulations, i.e., only during the lawful pursuit of game during legal seasons. No target shooting is allowed!
Other prohibitions on the refuge include: dogs allowed only on a 6ft leash (except during waterfowl season); no off-road vehicles or driving; and no collecting of plants, animals, minerals, antlers and artifacts.
Lodging is available in Fallon, NV. Listings are available through the Fallon Convention and Visitors Bureau at (775)423-4556. Telephone, gas and supplies are available year-round in Fallon.
For driving directions or current weather conditions, please click on the links to the right in Featured Pages.
For information on current refuge conditions, please call 775/423-5128. Or email us at the Contact link below.
The Complex headquarters are located at: 3175 Freeman Lane, Which is the cream colored house on the corner of Freeman Lane and Stillwater Road, approximately 10 miles from Highway 50. Hours are Mon – Fri, 8am – 4:30pm. We have brochures, maps, and wildlife information.
It’s also very important to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Preparation is the key to a fun and worthwhile adventure at Stillwater NWR!
Stillwater NWR: A Desert Oasis for Migratory Waterfowl, Shorebirds, Wildlife and Plants
Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge is located in the Lahontan Valley of north-central Nevada, near the community of Fallon, sixty miles east of Reno.Tthis area has been designated a site of international importance by the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network (external link) because of the hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, such as Long-billed dowitcher, Black-necked stilt, and American avocet passing through during migration.
Also listed as a ‘Globally Important Bird Area’ by the American Bird Conservancy (external link) and an ‘Important Bird Area’ by the National Audubon Society (external link), more than 280 species have been sighted in the area. These tremendously rich and diverse wetlands attract more than a quarter million waterfowl, as well as over 20,000 other water birds, including American white pelicans, Double-crested cormorants, White-faced ibis, and several species of egrets, herons, gulls, and terns. The Stillwater NWR wetlands are well-known by birders from around the country.
Resident wildlife such as coyotes, White-tailed antelope ground squirrels, Jack and Cottontail rabbits, Kangaroo rats, 5 species of lizards, a few types of snakes, and many insects can be seen in abundance throughout the seasons of the refuge.
A variety of activities awaits visitors to this ‘Oasis in the Desert’, but plan ahead and check weather, roads and recent sightings before you go. Click the Visit tab for more details.