Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge (7,885 acres)is located in Flathead County 40 miles west of Kalispell, approximately a one-hour drive on gravel and paved roads. Lost Trail NWR was acquired in August, 1999 and is the 519th Refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Prior to acquisition, refuge lands were privately owned and managed as the cattle and horse ranch known as Lost Trail Ranch. The ranch's long and diverse history of cattle ranching dates back to the late 1800's.
The habitat diversity of the Refuge supports a wide variety of wildlife species. At least 14 species of migratory and breeding waterfowl utilize wetland areas. These include mallard, gadwall, cinnamon teal, green-winged teal, lesser scaup, wood duck, redhead, common goldeneye and Canada geese. Various species of marsh and shorebirds are present during the summer months. These include grebes, herons, gulls, killdeer, sandhill cranes, dowitchers, sandpipers, common snipe, bitterns and black terns.
Upland game bird species include spruce grouse, blue grouse and ruffed grouse. The Refuge lies within the historic range of the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse. Raptor species such as northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, Swainson's hawks, American kestrels and great-horned owls are present.
Resident mammal species include white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose and black bear. Furbearers include fisher, pine martin, Canada lynx, wolverine and bobcat. Muskrat, badger and Columbian ground squirrels are also present on the Refuge. The threatened grizzly bear and the endangered gray wolf are known to inhabit the Pleasant Valley Area.
Public use activities that are currently allowed include hunting, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education.