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Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Seneca Falls

(140+ reviews on the web)
Wildlife Area
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife preserve operated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, encompassing part of the Montezuma Swamp at the north end of Cayuga Lake. The refuge lies between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse, New York (5mi east of Seneca Falls, and 10mi west of Auburn), including parts of Seneca, Cayuga, and Wayne counties. Most of the refuge lies in the Town of Tyre, in the northeast corner of Seneca County.The Montezuma Marshes were designated a National Natural Landmark in May 1973; the citation notes that "A small, 100-acre area within the site is one of the best examples of undisturbed swamp woodlands in New York or New England."The New York Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area borders the national wildlife refuge and protects additional parts of the Montezuma Swamp.A significant spot along the Atlantic Flyway, the Refuge provides crucial habitat for migratory waterfowl and other birds.HistoryThe Finger Lakes Region was formed by the melting glaciers of the last glacial period, over ten thousand years ago. The northern and southern ends of the lakes gradually developed into extensive marshes. First the Algonquin Indians and later the Cayugas of the Iroquois Nation were the earliest known inhabitants to reap the rewards of the bountiful life in the marsh. The name "Montezuma" was first used in 1806 when Dr. Peter Clark named his hilltop home "Montezuma" after the palace of the Aztec Emperor Montezuma in Mexico City. Eventually the Marsh, the Village, and the Refuge all acquired the name.
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  • We aren't what you would call "bird watchers" but still had a pleasant drive through the wildlife refuge. Nice paved road, well kept. There were plenty of birds to see, we were even lucky enough to se...  more »
  • Great day! Love seeing the variety of birds and water critters. Saw a bald eagle. Great day watching the birds.  more »
  • I have visited this refuge several times. It is beautiful. Wildlife must be viewed from the car with the exception of trails or designated areas. Great place to view and photograph ducks. They have a ...  more »
  • I was a little disappointed with this wildlife refuge. I think we just went at a bad time, it was very hot and dry. It seemed to be dried up like a desert. The water was very pretty, but the trail to it was just eh, there wasn't much for us to see. I did enjoy climbing up to look out of the binoculars but didn't see any birds. I'm sure this park is normally very beautiful and full of wildlife but perhaps a very hot day in June is not a good time to visit?
  • Not too far off the interstate, this is a wonderful place to take a break from a cross-country drive and take a relaxing hike in nature. They also have a driving tour, but that strikes me as sort of missing the point of a wildlife refuge! Extra points for their cell-phone interpretive your, their accessible viewing platform, and their canal-facing sign and dock for boaters. Well done!
  • Nice little drive and views. Great for the ultimate wildlife watcher.
  • Interesting mix of walking path and a loop around the marsh that that can be driven , biked or walked if your really energetic . On the walking path there is a elevated overlook deck that gives a panoramic view of the area as well as a ground level deck a way down the path that extends into the edge of the marsh. Not a lot of excitement for little ones besides the visitors center but with patience and careful searching wildlife will be spotted. Lots of birds noticeable. The slow drive around the loop not only provides nice views of the marsh , birds and various water foul but we had a turtle cross the road in front of our car as well as 2 foxes a little further down... you can leave any hiking or hill tackling gear at home. This is strictly flat easy walking.
  • My favorite NWR! Every time I visit, I'm treated to an amazing array of waterfowl. Go during the spring and fall migrations to see tens of thousands of birds of all kinds... and muskrat and beaver, too!