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Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge

Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge Review

Outside Craig, U.S. 40 gradually shifts into hillier sagebrush country. Every 15 miles or so, this desolate stretch of highway winds through tiny towns, including Maybell, Elk Springs, Massadona, Blue Mountain—some are not even on the map. At Maybell the road forks. If you follow Route 318 northwest for 53 miles you'll reach the Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge, with white-water canyons straddled at one point by a one-lane swinging bridge. The area was a notorious hideout for the likes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Tom Horn, and John Bennett. This is an unspoiled, almost primitive place, ideal for watching antelope and bighorn sheep, as well as nesting waterfowl such as mallards, redheads, teal, and Great Basin Canada goose. You might also see elk, pronghorn, and various songbirds. The marshes are closed for nesting season between March and July 31. The route here is complicated, so call for directions. The refuge has two primitive and free campgrounds equipped with pit toilets. Beware: there's no drinking water, firewood, or trash removal.

Updated: 10-01-2013

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