Visitor Activities

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Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge offers sweeping ocean views from the iconic headlands and provides vital habitat for animals such as migratory waterfowl, elk, songbirds, amphibians, salmon and trout. Accessible viewing decks, nature trails and interpretive panels ensure a rewarding experience for visitors of every persuasion.

  • Wildlife Viewing

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    Some tips to make watching wildlife enjoyable and rewarding:

    •Download our Watchable Wildlife guide (PDF 444 KB), consult Oregon Explorer's Watchable Wildlife page to locate hotspots for wildlife, or look for the "Wildlife Viewing Station" sign wherever you visit. Plan your visit according to the season, tidal phase, and time of day. Wildlife is generally more active in the mornings and early evenings than in the afternoon.

    •Download a copy of the Oregon Coast Birding Trail guide. Also, check out the Nestucca Bay NWR Bird Checklist (PDF 135 KB).

    •Keep voices down while approaching a viewing area to avoid scaring wildlife away before you get there. Although animals may disappear when you arrive, they often return shortly if you are quiet and still.

    •Use binoculars and spotting scopes to bring animals "closer" to you without disturbing them.

    •Bring a field guide to help you identify various species and the habitats they prefer. But, remember the goal is to identify with the wildlife, not just identify it.

    •Often a close look reveals more. Look up, look down. Or peer through a hand lens to enter the world of insects. Animals come in a range of sizes and occupy a variety of niches.

    Avoid disturbing wildlife. Remember that all coastal rocks and islands are closed to public access, and all watercraft should stay at least 500 feet away.

  • Hiking

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    The patient observer will be rewarded with many wildlife viewing opportunities on the refuge. Refuge nature trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. There are two parking lots on the refuge, a lower lot and an upper lot located by the trailheads. 

    The Pacific View Trail is an easy, 10-minute walk on an accessible, paved surface with rest benches. The trail ends at an observation deck where you will be treated to a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean, Haystack Rock, Nestucca Bay, the Coast Range, and the Little Nestucca River. 

    The Two Rivers Nature Trail is 2.2 miles round-trip and offers visitors several loop options. The trail surface is a combination of gravel or natural soils and is rated as moderately difficult based on elevation changes and uneven terrain. The trail winds through alder forest, coastal prairie, and small wildflower meadows with a stop to view the confluence of the Nestucca and Little Nestucca Rivers. The family-friendly trail offers birdwatching along the way and plenty of opportunity to take photographs of the preserved forestlands.

  • Kayaking & Canoeing

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    Nestucca Bay NWR does not provide any type of boating access; however, boaters can access these waterways via public land. The closest access is the Little Nestucca Boat Ramp located on Meda Loop Road 1/4 miles East of Hwy 101, Pacific City. For more on Tillamook County boating facilities, go here. And for a comprehensive guide to paddle routes, download the Tillamook County Water Trail brochure (PDF 7 MB).

    In most cases, unless posted otherwise, the land on the refuge is closed to the public. This includes vehicles of any kind as well as foot traffic, so landing is not permitted.

  • Hunting

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    Hunting 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 appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System. Go to the Permits page for more information about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations at Nestucca Bay NWR. 

  • Photography

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    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. That’s not surprisingthe 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 camera-phone will do just fine for most visitors.