Your Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge experience begins in Historic Downtown Brigham City ...

Since 1928, this prominent arch has been part of Main Street Brigham City. The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge visitor's center is in our city limits! Serious bird enthusiasts know this as one of the premier birding locations in the world. Last year over 200,000 folks visited the Bird Refuge and we continue to see year over year increases in attendance and interest in the Bird Refuge and our related activities.




Why the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is such a bird photography haven...

The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge lies in northern Utah, where the Bear River flows into the northeast arm of the Great Salt Lake. The Refuge protects the marshes found at the mouth of the Bear River; these marshes are the largest freshwater component of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. Since these marshes are in turn surrounded by arid desert lands, it is little wonder that they have always been an oasis for waterbirds and wildlife.

Bear River MBR is one of the over 550 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System - a network of lands set aside and managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service specifically for wildlife. The Refuge and other wetlands associated with the Great Salt Lake provide critical habitat for migrating birds, over 250 species moving through this area annually by the millions to rest and feed. As part of the Bear River Bay, the Refuge is designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site, a globally important shorebird area.


Today, Bear River MBR contains nearly 80,000 acres of marsh, open water, uplands, and alkali mudflats. The marshes and open water are managed using a complex system of dikes and water control structures to provide a variety of water depths suitable for the needs of different waterbird species. The Refuge is an excellent place to observe wildlife along a 12-mile auto tour route, as well as enjoying hunting, fishing and wildlife photography.




Why your Journey to the Bird Refuge should start in Historic Downtown Brigham City...

In a word... accommodations! We have a wonderful collection of facilities to ensure your visit is comfortable and convenient, with everything you will need for your time here. Check out our assortment of hotels, restaurants, and shops. You could even park your car and visit the refuge by bicycle much of the year! And watch here for more information about activities and events that you can't do on your own in the Bird Refuge.


Activities we are planning to offer in 2017:

Aerial Photography Sessions: A "Birds Eye" view of the Bird Refuge, Antelope Island, and the Bear River ecosystem is now available. This is by appointment only and the price depends upon the length of your Photography Session. These services are provided by Axiom Aviation, LLC from Ogden, UT. Please contact us for tour requirements or details.

Airboat Excursions: The Willard Spur provides unforgettable access to otherwise inaccessible areas of the Wetlands surrounding the Bird Refuge. We are working to find a local AirBoat operator willing to do this on a commercial basis. Note: This will be a seasonal activity limited by nesting, water levels, and equipment availability. Let us know if you have interest.

Behind the Gate Tours: To protect the delicate environment of the refuge and it's many inhabitants, access to the Bird Refuge is closely managed. We are working through a complex permitting process to obtain access "Behind the Gate" for limited sized groups and at limited times, consistent with the preservation mission of the refuge.

Bicycle Rentals: Had enough of sitting in your automobile? Would you like a break from the limits of your 4 wheel ride and alight upon a memorable bike tour of the 12 mile Refuge Road. We are working with local vendors to make this happen in 2017, as well.

Canoeing: Did you know that the Bear River is a navigable waterway and as such, you can have some spectacular birding from within a quiet comfortable canoe. Area that are not accessible by car or even by foot, can be accessed with canoes. We'll have more information here before the warmer weather is upon us.


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Contact Us

Historic Downtown Brigham City
95 S Main St
Brigham City, UT 84302

Phone: 435-538-7949