Creamer’s Field – Migratory Waterfowl Refuge is a 2,200-acre wildlife refuge on a historic (non-operating) dairy farm. It is open to the public for walking and day use. Creamer’s Field has numerous trails through boreal forest and boardwalks over wetlands. A community based non-profit Friends of Creamer’s Field operates a Visitor’s Center in the old farmhouse. They provide guided nature walks in the summer. Additionally, they host summer camps for kids as well as numerous community events throughout the year.
One of the biggest draws to Creamer’s Field is the birds. Every spring the DOT workers from the airport clear the fields of snow to make it an ideal landing zone for migrating birds. This helps keep them off the runway where they are a danger to local air traffic. It’s incredible watching the sandhill cranes, geese, and swans congregate here in April.
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Numerous viewing platforms make this a wonderful location to watch wildlife. Creamer’s has a lot of meaning to local Fairbanksans since the arrival sounds of the Sandhill Cranes mark the end of our long winter. Then we watch them re-congregate in August and September as they practice their formation flying every morning and evening until sometime in September when they don’t return from the sky.
There are miles of walking trails here. The terrain is flat and the paths are well-marked. At a leisurely pace, it takes about 2 hours to walk all of the trails. The landscape varies from farmland to wetland and boreal forest. Wooden boardwalks keep your feet dry through all the seasonal wetlands. The dense birch forests are quite a sight.
There are connector trails to a trail system in the Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary maintained by Wedgewood Resort that takes you around Wander Lake. It’s definitely worth the walk and might add 45 minutes to an hour of time.
In winter the trails are typically well-worn, but sometimes snowshoes can be helpful. It’s also popular for cross-country skiing and fat-biking. In the spring and summer months, it helps to come prepared for mosquitoes.
The refuge is free for day use. A Visitor Center on site has more information and educational information on the refuge. There are restrooms on-site, but they are locked during winter. I highly suggest making a donation to Friends of Creamer’s Field for how much work they put in (mostly volunteers) and their level of community outreach.
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The Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary trails connect to the Creamer’s Field trail system. Check out that guide here: