A little time alone in nature can soothe the soul. In Washington state, the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge provides stunning views of the estuary — and the many birds that use it. The trail has a viewing tower and two viewing platforms. “Fantastic,” says one Trip Advisor reviewer. Photo by Steve Russell
It’s easy to see why fall is a favorite season for walks and hikes at national wildlife refuges.
The air is crisp, the colors breathtaking, the trails as varied as refuge landscapes.
A red-winged blackbird eats ticks on a deer. Photo Courtesy of Naomi Ballard
And wildlife offer continual surprises.
This week’s photo story from the National Wildlife Refuge System will leave you eager to hit the trail.
Not sure what refuge trails are nearby? Check out trail descriptions on the Refuge Trail Guide. More than 70 refuge trails are designated National Recreation Trails. Refuge trails also include several hundred miles of National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails.
You live in the city? You’re in luck. Some refuge trails are surprisingly close by. At Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, 10 miles from downtown Denver, you can see bison from the one-mile Legacy Trail. At John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, a three-mile nature trail is right inside Philadelphia city limits.
While you’re marveling at the sights along a refuge trail, you’ll also be doing your body good.
Regular walks or hikes in nature promote good health – lowering blood pressure and risk of heart disease, and boosting bone density. Your mood may be better, too. Don’t take our word for it. Read what WebMD has to say about how the health benefits of walking or hiking.
Join free guided walks at many refuges. Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey is leading nightly sunset walks through Saturday for Refuge Week. On the West Coast, join the next monthly “Nature Walk for Health!” November 5 at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge along its Tidelands Trail (pictured). At Washington’s Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Refuge, bird walks take place every Wednesday at 8 a.m. Photo by USFWS
You can hike alone or in a group. Many refuges host free guided walks. See our story for examples.
Read the story here. See you on the trail!
Susan Morse, National Wildlife Refuge System communications