William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region

William L. Finley Trail Descriptions 

Click here for a downloadable .pdf version of the trail descriptions and map


Woodpecker Loop Trail

Length: 1.1 miles 
Open: Year Round

Interpretative sign along Woodpecker Loop Trail at William L. Finley NWRWoodpecker Loop trail head is located just off Finley Refuge road. In 2005 Woodpecker Loop trail was recognized as a National Recreation Trail. This loop trail begins and ends at the parking lot. An interpretive brochure for this hike is available at the trail head. The trail begins in a oak woodland habitat and then climbs slightly to an overlook that allows exceptional views of the valley and the Cascade Range. Here you also get a good view of Bald Top, which is a native oak savannah habitat. The trail continues on into a forest dominated by Douglas fir. As the trail drops down you start to see mature maples and evidence of past logging practices. Interpretive signs throughout the trail provide information about different animals and their habitats. This is an excellent trail for bird watching and is enjoyable in the summertime because most of the trail is under the forest canopy. Click here to view and download a self-guided brochure for Woodpecker Loop Trail.

Mill Hill Loop Trail

Length: 3 miles
Open: Year Round

The trail begins at the Display Pond parking lot, on the west side of the refuge. From the parking lot go right onto the trail that drops down and around Display Pond. Follow the trail markers as you walk along the interior refuge road. Turn right at the brown sign and head to the beginning of the loop trail. This up and down trail takes you through many different forest types: oak woodland, mature maple, and Douglas fir. Look for wood ducks on Gray Creek. Rest on one of the benches to watch for elk, deer, bobcat and other woodland wildlife around the forest margins.

Inter-Tie Trail 

Length: .5 miles 
Open: Year Round

The trail head can be accessed near the midway point on Woodpecker Loop or near the beginning of Mill Hill trail. This trail ties Woodpecker and Mill Hill Loops together for hikers who want to explore more of the refuge. This trail takes you through the understory of a mixed deciduous and fir forest.

Homer Campbell Memorial Boardwalk 

Length: .5 miles 
Open: Year Round

The trail head is located in the parking area just east of the historical Fiechter House. This recently constructed boardwalk winds through the Muddy Creek riparian area that is seasonally flooded with winter rains. Oregon ash and big-leaf maple are the common tree species, providing canopy for many songbirds. Thrushes, bushtits and juncos are commonly heard. The boardwalk ends at Cabell Marsh, where an observation blind provides seasonal views of a wide variety of dabbling and diving ducks, tundra swans, white pelicans, and other birds. A new extension from the boardwalk, open April 1st through October 31st, provides access to the Cabell Marsh dike.

Cabell Marsh Trail

Length: 2.2 miles
Open: April 1st - Oct 31st

Cabell Marsh trail head is at the south end of the refuge headquarters parking lot. Walk down the path to the kiosk. Here you can look through a viewing scope to spot wildlife on the marsh. Head east from the kiosk down onto the service road and turn right. Follow the road around the marsh until you reach the sign at a road junction that says Beaver Pond, Cattail Pond and Mill Hill Trail. This is the turn-around-point. If you chose to, you could continue on to Beaver Pond, or to Cattail Pond and Mill Hill trail. Cabell Marsh has been common hunting ground for bald eagles and osprey. Great blue herons, egrets, and American bitterns are commonly seen on and around the marsh. In the summer this hike is best in the early morning or evening due to lack of shade along the road.

Beaver & Cattail Pond Trails

Length: 2.5 miles 
Open: April 1st - Oct 31st

Beaver Pond at William L. Finley NWRThe trail begins at a turnout adjacent to Bruce Rd. There are two interpretive signs at the turnout that describe the Applegate Trail and Pigeon Butte. Walk up the interior service road to an old rock quarry site; turn left. Cross the bridge and follow the trail along the edge of Beaver Pond. Go to the service road, turn right and follow the signs to Cattail Pond. Follow the trail back around to the quarry. This trail is good to view spring wildflowers, grazing elk, and migratory birds. Keep your eyes open for wood ducks, pied-billed grebes and hooded mergansers at the ponds.

Cheadle Marsh Trail

Length: 1.5 miles
Open: April 1st - Oct 31st

This trail also begins at a turnout on the north side of Bruce Rd. Two interpretive signs at the turnout that describe how Native Americans used the land and how important marshes are to the ecosystem. Walk past the gate and onto the dike. This flat trail goes out and back on the same route following the banks of Cheadle Marsh and the riparian forest of Muddy Creek. Native wetland plants are evident along the trail and great blue heron are often seen wading in the marsh. This is a good place to see how the vegetation of a marsh changes as the water level fluctuates.

Pigeon Butte Trail 

Length: 1.5 miles 
Open: April 1st - Oct 3 st

Park at the information kiosk on the south side Bruce Rd. Walk across Bruce Rd. and follow the interior refuge road north towards the red barn on the hill. Go left where the road splits at Cheadle Barn Pond and start to climb up to Pigeon Butte. Turn left at the trail marker and follow the road to the top of the hill. Pigeon Butte is the highest point on the refuge and allows for great views of the Willamette Valley. Band-tailed pigeons and migratory songbirds often stop at the mineral springs near the quarry.

McFadden Marsh Observation Blind

Length: .25 mile 
Open: Year Round

On the east side of McFadden Marsh off of Bruce Rd. is where the trail to the blind starts. The short walk to the blind will provide great views of wintering waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds. Try to be as quiet as possible to make sure you don't scare anything away. Once you get to the blind open one of the windows and enjoy the view.

Cabell Marsh Kiosk 

Open: Year Round

Cabell Marsh Overlook on William L. Finley NWRThis is a great way to see the large number of wintering waterfowl that are on Cabell Marsh in the winter. The trail to the kiosk is on the south end of the refuge headquarters parking lot. This quick one minute walk to the kiosk will allow you to look through a viewing scope to spot wildlife on the marsh. There are interpretive panels at the kiosk that give information about the marsh and the wildlife that use it.

Back to Finley NWR Recreation page


Last updated: March 30, 2011