Trip Planner: USA / New York State / Finger Lakes / Seneca Falls / Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
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.For Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and beyond, use our Seneca Falls trip maker app to get the most from your Seneca Falls vacation.
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.
The 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.
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
In the fall thousands of migrating ducks, geese, and swans use the refuge to stop and refuel before heading south again to continue their journey. The wildlife loop road takes visitors close to the la... more »
An early morning visit to the visitor center and then the wildlife drive provided great looks at bald eagles, various ducks, geese and sandhill cranes. Drive took a leisurely 1 1/2 hours. Be sure to c... more »
It was quite the enjoyable slow drive through this lovely location. It had a very nice observation deck and we were able too see several species of birds, including two bald eagles. Highly recommended for the outdoor enthusiast and bird watchers. A nice spot to spend the day with friends and family
Beautiful reserve with masses of wildlife to see. The visitor centre is lovely (especially in the rain!) and the route for observing is a great little drive/bike/however you do it. Note that the far edge of the park is right next to the interstate so don't come looking for total peace and quiet.
Places to stay near Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
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