Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you do the following:

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Face masks are required in all federal buildings and on all federal lands.
  • Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other groups.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick


  • Mardon Skipper Promo

    Mardon Skippers

    Small and seldom seen, the Mardon skipper is having a tough time hanging on in Washington. Conboy Lake NWR is one of its last strongholds.

    Mardon Skipper

  • Elk In Aspen Promo

    Rocky Mountain Elk

    Massive antlers, bodies weighing up to 700 pounds, shaggy manes, distinctive calls—it's no wonder everyone loves elk.

    Rocky Mountain Elk

  • Sandhill Cranes Promo 2

    Sandhill Cranes

    Wolves and geese notwithstanding, the call of a Sandhill crane is the call of the wild.

    Sandhill Cranes

  • Western Gray Squirrel Promo

    Western Gray Squirrel

    However you might feel about squirrels—love 'em, hate 'em—the fact remains this is a species that needs our help.

    Western Gray Squirrel

Stuff To Know



Spring is the perfect time to visit Conboy Lake. The weather might not always cooperate, but there of plenty of things to see. The Sandhill cranes arrive in early March, and it's the best time to see their courtship dances and hear their trumpeting call. Pacific chorus frogs begin their raucous calling, particularly in the evening and at night. In April, the number of elk in the area peaks around 300. They are hard to miss! Camas and buttercup begin to bloom in May, creating blankets of blue and yellow. It is also a good time to see migratory songbirds as they pass through, and maybe even catch a glimpse of great horned owl youngsters.

Spotted Frog Egg Counting

Spring Frog

Every year, the Fish & Wildlife Service counts the number of spotted frog egg masses on Conboy Lake NWR. This year's count will start when the snow recedes. Let's hope for a high count and good weather. Want to know more about Oregon spotted frogs? Just follow the link below. Hop to it.

Oregon Spotted Frogs

Cultural Resources


Think we're just about wildlife? Guess again. Conboy Lake NWR is rich with the cultural history of Native Americans and early Euro-American settlers. The refuge is also home to dozens of significant archaeological sites. And no visit is complete without touring the Whitcomb-Cole Hewn Log House, one of the few remaining pioneer log homes in Klickitat County.

Learn More About Our Cultural Resources
Want To Know About . . .

How Did Conboy Lake Get It’s Name?

Captain George McClellan

From an early settler named Peter Conboy. There’s an interesting phenomenon where everyone with a surname of “Conboy” wants to know how Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge got its name. We’ve got it on our web site, but to make it easier for all you Conboys out there, follow the link below. The story of Conboy Lake is on page 2 under “Euro-American Settlement.” (BTW: That’s Captain George McClellan, one of the early arrivals to the valley. There are no known photos of Peter Conboy.)

Cultural Resources

About the Complex

Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuges

Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuges.

Read more about the complex
About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


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