Visitor Activities

Visitor looks through at spotting scope at wildlife

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southeastern Oregon’s high desert, at the northern end of the Great Basin. It is adjacent to the Steens Mountain, from which the Wild and Scenic Donner und Blitzen River flows into the Refuge’s southern boundary. The Refuge is famous for spectacular concentrations of wildlife, which are attracted to the Refuge’s habitats and abundant water resources in an otherwise arid landscape. Visitors are drawn to Malheur’s abundant wildlife and natural resources and the variety of recreational opportunities the Refuge provides for visitors to enjoy.

  • Wildlife Observation

    Small child viewing wildlife from an overlook on the refuge

    With more than 340 species of birds and 67 species of mammals, the Refuge offers prime wildlife viewing. The Refuge provides wildlife observation to casual visitors and beginning to advanced birders with a variety of structured opportunities to view and observe nature, including docent-led tours, a 42-mile auto tour route, and trails.

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  • Photography

    Visitor peering through a camera at wildlife

    Photographing wildlife and the surrounding landscape connects the hearts and minds of visitors with the places and resources the Refuge protects. With more than 340 species of birds and 67 species of mammals, and six different wildlife habitat types on the Refuge provides amble of opportunities for quality photography.

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  • Interpretation

    Visitor looks at an interpretive panel

    Using various methods, the Refuge provides interpretive features and programs emphasizing key interpretive themes relevant to the Refuge. The Refuge provides a variety of modern media to convey information to visitors and to enhance self-guided experiences such as brochures, a range of indoor and outdoor interpretive panels, and activities in local events and programs on- and off-Refuge.

  • Environmental Education

    A child looks at pond mud for insects

    When Refuge staff and volunteers are available, the Refuge supports and provides environmental education programs for local schools, universities, and other educational or community groups, in partnerships with other local environmental education initiatives. The Refuge implements environmental education programs that emphasize hands-on and outdoor learning.

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  • Fishing

    Fly fisherman in his boat on Krumbo Reservoir

    Aimed at successful take for experienced fly-fishers and casual anglers, fishing (link to Fishing) is allowed at several locations on the Refuge. The Refuge provides stream fisheries for trout along the upper Blitzen River, a portion of the East Canal and tributaries, and along the river near the Refuge headquarters for non-native carp. Year-round reservoir fishing opportunity at Krumbo Reservoir provides for take for trout and bass.

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  • Hunting

    Pheasant hunters hold their bag limit

    Hunting is permitted within limited areas at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for reasonable challenges and opportunities, and uncrowded conditions. The Refuge provides hunting opportunities for upland game and waterfowl in the Malheur Lake, Buena Vista and the Boundary hunt units.

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