Features

  • Coyote Sentinel

    Coyotes

    Possibly the most adaptable animal in North America (raccoons might disagree), coyotes thrive almost anywhere—including shrub-steppe.

    Coyotes

  • Basalt Columns

    Geology

    Columbia NWR has a fascinating—and violent—geologic history. To truly know the refuge, you have to understand its past.

    Geology

  • Cedar Waxwings Kissing

    Photo Galleries

    Some incredible photographers have donated some incredible photographs. If you can't visit Columbia NWR, this is a great consolation prize.

    Photo Galleries

  • Washington Ground Squirrel Promo

    Washington Ground Squirrels

    Too cute by half, Washington ground squirrels unfortunately spend most of the year below ground. Too bad; you can never get enough of them.

    Washington Ground Squirrels

  • Rattlesnake Promo

    Rimrock Species

    Columbia NWR is blessed with an abundance of rock faces, cliffs and crevices—perfect habitat for many species.

    Rimrock Species

Of Interest

Help Save Our Bats

Save Our Bats Logo

White-nose Syndrome is a horrible disease threatening our bats—bats critical to our environment and food supply. Learn what you can do to help the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service—and yourself!

White-nose Syndrome

Spring

Duckling

Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to visit any time of the year, but nothing compares to spring. The refuge turns green for a few short months. Fishing returns. Temperatures are perfect for visiting. But it's the explosion of wildlife that truly defines the season and the refuge. Waterfowl by the thousands—tens of thousands—stop by on their great migrations to breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada. Others, like some shorebirds, may be pushing on even further to the countries of the Arctic Circle and need food and rest to continue. While on a shorter, but still epic migration, thousands of lesser Sandhill cranes poke through last year's agricultural fields for leftover grains and protein-rich insects. The cranes, ducks and geese crowd the same fields, creating tornados of flight and noise when they take off together. Less obvious and less awe-inspiring, but more colorful, warblers and finches and kinglets flit along the riparian corridors as they, too, make their way to nesting grounds. Don't miss the show.

Watching Wildlife

Watching Wildlife

Chickadee

Want to see more animals on your trip to Columbia National Wildlife Refuge? Ready to add to your birding "Life List?" Here are some wildlife viewing tips from the "experts."

Watching Wildlife

About the Complex

Mid-Columbia River Complex

Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River Complex.

Read more about the complex
About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System

NWRS Logo

The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS