Visitor Activities

Basalt Reflections

From canoeing to hunting, many activities beckon at Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is especially known for it’s birdwatching and fishing.

  • Auto Touring

    Antique Car

    A drive of 22 miles will take you through some of the most dramatic landscapes on the refuge. From the Refuge Headquarters, drive north on Morgan Lake Road, the main refuge road, and turn left on Highway 262. Refuge land is to the south of the highway. Turn south on Road H SE, where you will pass through private properties. Turn left on McManamon Road. At the Drumheller Channels Scenic Overlook, you will again begin viewing Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. A left turn on Morgan Lake Road will return you to your starting point.

  • Canoeing


    Sheer rock walls dropping into the quiet water, Hutchinson Lake connects to Shiner Lake, and is a delightful place to canoe. A canoe launch dock and boat launch (no gas motors!) make for easy entry to the lake.

  • Fishing

    Gone Fishing

    Fishing is one of the more popular activities on the refuge (and we have a new regulations page, link at right). The state of Washington stocks several lakes with a variety of panfishes and trout. We encourage you to visit their web site for more information.

    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Fishing Site

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  • Hiking


    Hiking is the best means of observing some of the interesting plants, wildlife and geology of the area. Though the refuge contains four designated hiking trails, hiking is permitted on all areas open to the public.

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  • Hunting


    Columbia isn't well-known for its hunting, although waterfowl and deer hunting are allowed. There are restrictions on species and techniques. To see the regulations, please visit our Rules & Regulations page.

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  • Othello Sandhill Crane Festival

    Sandhill Crane Festival

    The three-day festival, hosted by the city of Othello and many partners (including the Fish and Wildlife Service), usually occurs in late March. The festival highlights the return of the cranes as they stop off on their 1,500-mile migration from wintering grounds in California's Central Valley to nesting territory in Alaska. Specialty tours take you to view burrowing owls; birdwatching on Potholes Reservoir; and sightseeing on the refuge, with its geologic wonders, wind farms, and many other places of interest. With admission into the festival, you may attend as many free lectures as you can fit into a day.

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  • Photography & Wildlife Observation


    Columbia is one of the best places in eastern Washington to see wildlife.

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