Plan Your Visit

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Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge offers wildlife viewing year-round on the Carty Unit and River S' Unit Auto Tour Route.


    AA Main Street Detour - Promo List

    A detour is currently in place to access the Carty Unit of the Refuge during Main Avenue construction.  This is includes the Refuge Office, Plankhouse, Oaks to Wetlands Trail and Carty Lake Trail access from the east. The Refuge's Carty Unit and office will remain open per regular hours during construction. 

    To access the detour, come into Ridgefield and follow orange signs onto Reiman Road to the north.  Signs will lead you to the Refuge entrance.  

    The Main Street Project will create safe access to the Refuge by extending city sidewalks from the City to the Carty Unit allowing non-motorized users (bikes, runners, walkers, baby strollers, etc) access between the City and the Refuge. (Please note, that public uses on the Refuge are unchanged and bike racks will be provided near the entrance to secure bikes at Refuge trail head.) With the recent completion of the Carty Lake Trail on the Refuge, a seasonal hiking loop trail now exists to connecting the City, the Port of Ridgefield, Refuge Headquarters, the Oaks to Wetland Trail, the Carty Lake Trail, and Plankhouse.

    Learn More Here...



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    Auto Tour Route is currently undergoing bridge construction

    The River S Unit/Auto Tour Route off of 9th avenue will be open on Saturdays ONLY, during daylight hours, through November 2019.  The exception will be Veteran's Day weekend when the unit will be open both Saturday and Sunday in observance of the holiday (excludes Monday).

    In December the unit will re-open for both Saturdays and Sundays access until the bridge work concludes (estimated in July 2020). 

    No vehicle or pedestrian access at anytime during the closure. Details here...


    The Oaks to Wetlands trail is closed every Thursday through October for restoration work.  


    Additional information about these and other Refuge improvement projects can be found at

  • Hours

    Current daily gate hours are: 7:00 am to 6:30 pm  

    Office hours are: M-F 7:30 am to 3:30 pm. 

    Office hours are subject to staff availability and we recommend calling ahead to confirm office doors are open.(360) 887-4106. 

    The Refuge is open everyday during daylight hours. Closing times for the automated gate are posted on the gate at the refuge entrance. No pedestrian access allowed after dark.

    Note: Periodically, the refuge may be closed for scheduled maintenance or construction projects, or because weather conditions have created hazardous conditions. Look for updates on this website before you visit.

  • Fees

    The daily entrance fee to the Refuge is $3.00 per non-commercial vehicle.  Cash and check only - NO debit/credit cards.  Please bring exact change. Commercial activities require a special use permit.

    There are many pass options available to waive the entrance fee. Please visit the Entrance Fee page, to learn more about the entrance fee and pass options for the Refuge. 

    All revenues from entrance fees will be used to support recreation related expenses including: brochures, signage, facilities enhancement, trail/road maintenance, restoration associated with wildlife-dependent recreation and public safety.

  • Seasonal Closures

    The Kiwa trail on the River S' Unit is closed October through April and reopens May 1st.  

    The Auto Tour Route is restricted to access by car only October through April to reduce disturbance to wintering waterfowl that is caused by visible human presence. Please stay in your car except at the information booth and restrooms during this time.  This restriction is lifted May through September. 

    Please respect these closures as they allow both people and wildlife to use and enjoy the same areas while keeping to the conservation mission of the Refuge.

    The Viewing Blind on the River S' Unit remains open year-round in addition to the Carty Unit, to pedestrian foot traffic.

  • Directions

    NOTE: DETOUR IN PLACE. To access the Refuge Units, follow orange detour signs in town to your destination. Learn more here.


    For the Carty Unit, Refuge Office, and Plankhouse:

    Physical Address: 28908 NW Main Avenue, Ridgefield WA 98642

    Directions (when detour not in place):

    From Interstate 5 (both north and south) take Exit 14 for Pioneer Street/ Washington 501 W toward Ridgefield.

    At the exit, (from the north) turn right for NW 269th/Pioneer Street.
    At the exit, (from the south) turn left for NW 269th/Pioneer Street.

    At the traffic circle, continue on NW 269th/Pioneer Street.

    At the second traffic circle on NW 269th/Pioneer Street, continue to follow Pioneer Street.

    At Main Street, take a right. Continue on N Main for 1 mile.

    Refuge Entrance will be on the left.


    For River S' Unit, Auto Tour Route, and Hunter Check Station:

    Physical Address: 1071 S Hilhurst Rd, Ridgefield WA 98642


    From Interstate 5 (both north and south) take Exit 14 for Pioneer Street/ Washington 501 W toward Ridgefield.

    At the exit, (from the north) turn right for NW 269th/Pioneer Street.
    At the exit, (from the south) turn left for NW 269th/Pioneer Street.

    At the traffic circle stay on NW 269th/Pioneer Street.

    At the second traffic circle stay on NW 269th/Pioneer Street. Continue to follow Pioneer Street.

    At S 9th Ave to S Hillhurst Street, turn left. Continue on S Hillhurst Road.

    Refuge Entrance will be on the right.

  • Visitor Facilities

    Parking, information kiosks, and restroom facilities are located at both the Carty Unit and River S' entrances. There is also an additional restroom facility located approximently half way around the Auto Tour Route at the Viewing Blind parking lot, which is open year-round.

    There are no drinking fountains, picnic areas, or garbage cans available so please come ready to pack out what you bring in.

    Facilities are almost exclusively maintained by volunteers so please respect their hard work and leave everything as you found it.

    Note: Garbage thrown in toilets is NOT retrievable. If the toilets are filled with trash they will eventually have to be closed permanently.  Please help us keep this facility functional for everyone and take your trash home with you.

  • Activities Harmful to Wildlife

    Because this is a home for wildlife, activities that disturb wildlife are restricted.

    Please leave the following at home:
         - Bicycles, scooters, etc.
         - Horses, dogs, or any other animal 

    (Note: Dogs are permitted on the auto tour route, but must remain in the vehicle at all times and certified service animals are permitted on all trails and facilities)

         - Electric or gas-powered off-road vehicles unless needed for a disability
         - Anything used to collect plants or animals

  • Groups

    Parking areas and Auto Tour Route are wide and tall enough to accommodate RVs small buses. Pre-scheduled group tours are asked to check in with Refuge management to ensure that they are not conflicting with an already scheduled group.  Any commercial activity requires a special use permit.  

    Please contact Josie Finley for more information at 360-887-4106 or