War Horse National Wildlife Refuge

War Horse National Wildlife Refuge, Montana

War Horse National Wildlife Refuge is a satellite of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Complex, a 1.1 million-acre property that extends from the Fort Peck Dam upstream along the Missouri River for about 125 miles. War Horse NWR is actually about 30 miles south of the Charles M. Russell NWR in western Petroleum County.

War Horse NWR is comprised of 3 sections, each section centered around either War Horse Lake, Wild Horse Lake or Yellow Water Reservoir. The reservoir is normally kept stocked with trout although the 2 lakes are often empty of fish. This refuge is essentially unstaffed and offers almost no visitor improvements. However, when the lakes and the reservoir are fully filled, this wetlands surrounded by sagebrush plain and stands of Ponderosa pine and Rocky Mountain juniper makes excellent habitat for migratory birds and waterfowl. The wetlands areas themselves are fringed with sandbar willow and Great Plains cottonwood.

More than 100 species of birds visit this area on an annual basis. Among the regular inhabitants are mule deer, pronghorns and sage grouse.

To get there: from the town of Teigen on Montana Highway 200, go north on a gravel road to War Horse and Wild Horse Lake. Yellow Water Reservoir is about 6 miles west of CR 244 on a gravel road, accessed from CR 244 about 8.5 miles south of Winnett.

War Horse National Wildlife Refuge area map
War Horse National Wildlife Refuge area map logo
Photo of the sage grouse courtesy of Gary Kramer, US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!
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