- Grays Lake NWR is 27 miles north of Soda Springs in southeast Idaho. It lies in a high mountain valley at 6,400 feet. Grays "Lake" is actually a large, shallow marsh with dense vegetation and little open water. Most of the marsh vegetation is bulrush and cattail. Adjacent lands are primarily wet meadows and grasslands.
Management efforts focus on measures to benefit sandhill cranes, and waterfowl. The refuge hosts the largest nesting population of greater sandhill cranes in the world; during the staging period in late September and early October, as many as 3,000 have been found in the valley at one time.
Other common nesting species include the mallard, cinnamon teal, canvasback, lesser scaup, redhead, and Canada goose. In a typical breeding season, the refuge may produce up to to 5,000 ducks and 2,000 geese. Franklin's gulls also nest in large colonies and may reach nearly 40,000 in some years. These colonies also attract large numbers of nesting white-faced ibis. Moose, elk, and mule deer use the refuge and are common throughout the area.
The Native inhabitants were Shoshonean-speaking peoples, who first occupied the area about 1650.