The refuge is located 18 miles east of Des Moines, Iowa, on State Highway 163. Follow the refuge directional signs just south of Prairie City at exit 18. Travelers on Interstate I-80 should use exit number 155 at Colfax and follow directional signs approximately 7 miles south on Highway 117 to the refuge.
AUTO TOURING, INTERPRETIVE PROGRAMS, HIKING, HUNTING, VISITOR CENTER, WILDLIFE VIEWING
Reserve your campsite at these camping areas:
Looking for nice hiking areas to take a hike? Choose from these scenic hiking trails:
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, located just 25 minutes east of Des Moines, Iowa, was established in 1990. Its mission is to re-construct tallgrass prairie and restore oak savanna on 8,654 acres of the Walnut Creek watershed and to provide a major environmental education facility focusing on prairie, oak savanna, and human interaction. The refuge has been designated a Fish and Wildlife Service Land Management and Research Demonstration Area. It will facilitate development, testing, teaching, publishing, and demonstration of state-of-the-art management techniques for fish, wildlife, and plant conservation. The Prairie Learning Center facilities include a visitor center with classrooms, exhibit area, theater, and bookstore. Miles of paved trails radiate from the center, and an auto tour through the 740-acre bison/elk enclosure is open all year. Teacher workshops, birding, hunting, and nature watching are some of the outdoor activities featured for thousands of visitors each year.