Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region


Cow moose

Cow Moose Photo Credit: USFWS

The Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge is part of a national system of lands managed primarily for wildlife. The Refuge can be accessed from the International Selkirk Loop.

The following recreational activities are permitted: fishing, hunting, photography, wildlife observation, camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, environmental education and interpretation.

Birding allows visitors to explore the Refuge in search of the two hundred and six bird species that have been recorded here. See Stevens County Checklist. We prepared a spring and summer Birding Hotspots brochure and a map to go with it. Bald eagles nest at Bayley Lake and use the Little Pend Oreille River during the winter months. Forest passerine birds are plentiful and include a mixture of eastern and western species. Cavity-dependent birds, such as woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees are abundant. Lakes and marshes provide spring stop over points for migratory waterfowl. Nesting waterfowl include Canada geese, mallards, red-necked grebes, common goldeneyes, wood ducks and common and hooded mergansers. Species of special interest occurring on the refuge include: golden eagle, northern goshawk, flammulated owl, Vaux swift, white-headed, pileated, Lewis, black-backed and three-toed woodpeckers.

Hiking is encouraged on the Mill Butte Trail which starts at Refuge Headquarters. The trail gains almost 600 feet in elevation with the trail difficulty level being moderate. Trail length is about 3 miles. We also have an environmental education trail that starts at River Camp. The McDowell Marsh Environmental Education Trail goes around McDowell Marsh, a boardwalk spans the wetland habitat, to McDowell Lake - about one mile. A brochure (available at the trailhead) describes many aspects of the habitats you will see.

Camping is allowed in our six established no fee campgrounds from April 14 – December 31. These campgrounds have vault toilets and metal fire rings. Potable water is not available.

Hunting is a popular activity on the Refuge, especially for grouse, turkey, and white-tailed deer.

Fishing is also a popular activity. We have two fly-fishing only lakes that are mainly catch and release. Potter’s Pond is a general fishing water with a wheelchair accessible fishing dock. A nearby restroom is also wheelchair accessible. The Little Pend Oreille River, its tributary streams and scattered beaver ponds are also open to fishing.

With 206 bird and 58 mammal species, there are many opportunities for viewing and photographing wildlife. Wildlife lists are available at Refuge Headquarters and the kiosk at Headquarters.

Biking and horseback riding are permitted on established roads. Snowmobiles are only permitted on Olson Creek Road.

See our public use brochure for more information.

Last updated: January 28, 2013