National Wildlife Refuge
|26010 South Smith Rd
Cheney, WA 99004 - 9326
Phone Number: 509-235-4723
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Continued . . . The entrance road, 5-mile auto tour route, and designated parking areas are available year round. Motorized vehicles must stay on these roadways. Bicycling is allowed on the entrance road, auto tour route, and Columbia Plateau Trail.
The refuge public use area has about 7.7 miles of trail, some of which originated as maintenance roads. Most are short trails that end at a wetland. The Pine Lake Trail follows part of the shoreline along Winslow Pool and Pine Lake, meandering through ponderosa pine forest before looping back to wetlands. This old service road has been converted to an accessible asphalt trail. The Bluebird Trail follows an old road along the eastern edge of the public use area and intersects the auto tour route near Kepple Lake.
The Headquarters Trail begins at headquarters and follows the chain of Pine Creek wetlands south to Cheever Lake, ending at a riparian area below the lake.
In addition, the three environmental education sites on the auto tour route each have a short loop trail (half a mile to three-quarters of a mile long) winding through wetland, grassland, forest, and riparian habitat near Blackhorse and Kepple lakes.
Blackhorse Lake also offers a 0.2-mile accessible boardwalk that allows disabled visitors easy viewing of the lake. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trails.
Washington State Park's Columbia Plateau Trail bisects the west side of the refuge. The trail is developed for hiking, bicycling, or horseback riding. Visitors are reminded that the refuge is closed to the public on both sides of the trail. Public access to this trail is only available off the refuge at Cheney-Spangle Road and Amber Lake. Visitors using the trail are not required to pay a fee when crossing the refuge, but they pay a $5.00 fee at the State-managed parking lot.
Early morning and evening are the best times to observe wildlife. Spring migration occurs from mid-March through mid-May and fall migration from September through November.
Most wildlife can be found on wetlands along the auto tour route. A variety of other wildlife may be observed along the trails in riparian, ponderosa pine forest, or grassland habitats. You will see more wildlife if you are quiet and listen for calls and songs. Sit and wait for wildlife to resume their activities. Use your car as a blind for wildlife viewing and photography. Observation blinds may be available to allow a close-up view of wildlife with minimal disturbance. Binoculars, camera, field guides, insect repellent, water, and a lunch will contribute to a pleasant visit.
Much of the refuge is closed to public access for safety reasons and to reduce disturbance to wildlife. Visitors are asked to comply with all regulatory signs.
No litter containers are provided on the refuge. Please carry out what you bring in! We suggest you leave pets at home; however, dogs are permitted if they are kept on a leash at all times. Hunting, fishing, boating, camping, horseback riding, fires, firearms, and on-ice activities are not permitted on the refuge.
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