Visitor Activities

Visitor looks through at spotting scope at wildlife

Malheur is a National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), one of a special set of federal lands set aside for fish and wildlife first as a primary purpose. Even the specific set of wildlife-dependent recreation activities allowed on refuge lands are limited in order to provide the needed protection and conservation of wildlife and habitats, and cultural resources. The six wildlife dependent activities allowed on refuge lands are described in detail below; for information specific to Malheur NWR, be sure to explore the links following each section of text.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Small child viewing wildlife from an overlook on the refuge

    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to Malheur NWR! The Refuge has several short hiking trails and, because of the refuge system's emphasis on habitat, visiting a refuge generally provides the best wildlife viewing available in a given area.

    Watchable Wildlife

  • Photography

    Visitor peering through a camera at wildlife

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate. You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started. A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list. Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes. Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity at Malheur and throughout the Refuge System. We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive!

    Photography Tips

  • Fishing

    Fly fisherman in his boat on Krumbo Reservoir

    Fishing is allowed year-round at several locations on Malheur Refuge – at Krumbo Reservoir, along the East Canal-Bridge Creek fishing loop, and along a portion of the Blitzen River between P Ranch and the confluence of Bridge Creek. Anglers can bank fish for native redband trout in the Blitzen River, Bridge Creek, and East Canal.

    Krumbo Reservoir offers the opportunity to catch rainbow trout and small mouth bass. Non-motorized boats or boats using electric motors enhances fishing opportunities on the reservoir. Boats are not allowed when ice is present at the boat launch. Anglers fishing from the banks and the accessible platform are successful. Ice fishing is not allowed on the reservoir and any physical access on to any ice formation is not permitted. Drive in access to the reservoir may be closed when road conditions are hazardous.

    This event has been cancelled for 2016. Fishing for invasive common carp is allowed for a few weeks on the Blitzen River near Headquarters in the Fall as part of an Aquatic Health research.

    Fishing on the Refuge

  • Hunting

    Pheasant hunters hold their bag limit

    Hunting is permitted within limited areas at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. It is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage. Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciation of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    As practiced on refuges, hunting, trapping and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management.
    Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

    To find out more about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge follow the link below or contact us directly.

    Learn More
  • Interpretation

    Visitor looks at an interpretive panel

    A guided program is the perfect way to learn about the rich natural and historic resources at Malheur! The Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has created an audio tour for refuge visitors. A CD of the tour can be picked up at the Refuge Visitor Center or visitors can download MP3 files of the tour at the Friends of Malheur web site.

    The refuge offers a variety of brochures about wildlife and recreational activities on the refuge. Brochures are available at Refuge Headquarters and at various locations throughout the refuge.

    Interpretive panels are located at various places on the refuge and cover a variety of topics including wildlife habitat use and historic resources on the refuge. Temporary exhibits, as well as permanent exhibits are on display in the museum at refuge headquarters.

  • Environmental Education

    A child looks at pond mud for insects

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources. Malheur National Wildlife Refuge offers environmental education programs for a variety of audiences. We represent a unique and exciting outdoor environment – an excellent location for hands-on learning activities. Hundreds of students visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.

    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology at Malheur NWR? Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!

    Learn More