DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge and Visitor Center
Missouri Valley, IA
1434 316th Ln, Missouri Valley, IA 51555-7033

Call: 712-642-2772

Located 20 minutes North of Omaha, NE
/Council Bluffs, IA

We Suggest ...

Exploring Opportunities

The 7,823 acre refuge offers fishing, boating, hunting, mushroom gathering, picnicking, four nature trails including one that is handicapped accessible, Bertrand excavation site, and a wildlife drive.


DeSoto Visitor Center provides a small theater, area for interpretive publications, viewing galleries overlooking DeSoto Lake, cultural and natural history exhibits, and the world- famous collection of cargo artifacts from the steamboat Bertrand that sank here in 1865. 

Lewis and Clark camped for the night near DeSoto Refuge's Lakeview Drive on August 3, 1804.  In their journals, they made important observations about the DeSoto Bend area.  They described willow, oak, hickory, sycamore and cottonwood trees; their first encounter with a badger; geese accompanied by their young; wood duck, "crains" of several kinds, and a flock of pelicans that appeared to cover several acres.

August 4, 1804, the Corps camped up river near the town of Blair, NE. 

Source: Bruce E. Weber, Ph. D.  Outdoor Recreation Planner DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge