Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region


General Information

Visitors to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge may enjoy viewing a variety of wildlife within a few minutes of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. The Refuge landscape provides santuary throughout the seasons for waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, river otter, black-tailed deer, coyotes, herons, and numerous other species of wildlife. The Refuge is also offers a place for people to keep in touch with their 'wild' neighbors. For many, this is a special place to learn about and appreciate the splendor of the natural areas that once occurred in abundance along the lower Columbia River.

The 5,300 acre Refuge contains a lush mosiac of wetlands, grasslands, riparian corridors, fir forests, and Oregon white oak woodlands. These habitats combined with a mild rainy winter climate provide an ideal environment for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Every fall the Refuge comes alive with thousands of ducks, geese, swans, and cranes. These birds depart their northern nesting range and migrate to this area to avoid the harsh Alaskan and Canadian winters. On Ridgefield Refuge, they find resting and feeding areas where they spend the winter months preparing to meet the demands of the spring migration and nesting seasons.

The Refuge offers wildlife-dependent public use in designated portions of the Refuge. The Carty Unit and its 2-mile Oaks to Wetlands Trails are open year-round during daylight hours. The River 'S' offers the 1-mile Kiwa Trail, which is open for use from May 1 to September 30. The River 'S' Unit also contains the 4.2-mile Auto Tour Route and observation blind that are open year-round during daylight hours. To limit disturbance to wintering waterfowl , visitors must remain in their vehicles along the Auto Tour Route from October 1 to April 30. Enjoy wildlife observation during the winter months as your car serves as your personal mobile observation blind. A portion of the River 'S' Unit is open to waterfowl hunting during the regular waterfowl hunting season. Follow the links below to learn more about all the public use programs and opportunities on the Refuge. All other areas of the Refuge are posted and closed as sanctuary areas for resident and migratory wildlife. Pets, bicycling, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, running, ATVs, are not allowed on the Refuge.

Guided Hikes

BirdFest October 4-5

The Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge present BirdFest 2014. Join us for a weekend of special tours, hikes, presentations, and activities. To learn more about the event please visit the website for the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Moonlight Hikes

Looking for a new experience at the Refuge? Consider a guided night hike on the Refuge. Three night hikes are available coinciding with the full moons of June, July, and August. Reservations are required. For more information, please visit the Moonlight Hikes Flyer.

Birding Hikes

Join a Refuge volunteer naturalist for a series of birding hikes on Ridgefield and Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuges. This is an excellent opportunity to sharpen your birding skills while enjoying Refuge trails. All hikes start at the respective trail head. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot early.

Guided Birding Hikes
Date Location Trip Leader
Ridgefield NWR; Carty Unit
October 19, 2014; Sunday Oaks to Wetlands Trail RE
Ridgefield NWR; River 'S' Unit
September 27, 2014; Saturday Kiwa Trail RE
Steigerwald Lake NWR
September 20, 2014; Saturday Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail RE
October 12, 2014; Sunday Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail RE
October 26, 2014; Sunday Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail RE
Details: All hikes start at the respective trailhead at 0800 and last approximately 3 hours. Please dress for the weather and come prepared for several hours of trail hiking and birdwatching.
Reservations Required: Space is limited, so please reserve your spot early. For reservations, or for additional details, please contact Eric Anderson at (360) 887-4106 or eric_anderson@fws.gov.
Trip Leader: Ron Escano (RE)
Other Opportunities: Backyard Birdshop, Portland Audubon, and Friends of the Columbia River Gorge may additionally offer guided hikes on the Refuges of the Ridgefield Complex. Please consult their websites and newsletters for additional opportunities.




Follow these links to learn more about recreation opportunities on the Refuge:

Special Events

General Recreation Map

Wildlife Observation

Waterfowl Hunting


Auto Tour Route

Plankhouse & Cultural Resources




Last updated: August 25, 2014