Visitor Activities

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Visitors to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge enjoy viewing a variety of wildlife within a few minutes of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. The Refuge landscape provides sanctuary throughout the seasons for waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, river otter, black-tailed deer, coyotes, herons, and numerous other species of wildlife. The Refuge also offers a place for people to keep in touch with their 'wild' neighbors. For many, this is a special place to learn about and appreciate the splendor of the natural areas that once occurred in abundance along the lower Columbia River.

  • Auto Tour Route

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    This 4 mile loop is the most popular destination of the Refuge and one of the best birding spots in the Portland-Vancouver area. The route transects fields, wetlands, sloughs, and forests. Fall and winter bring the highest concentrations of raptors and waterfowl. Spring displays a bounty of migrant and nesting birds. Turtles, ducklings, and goslings are visible through the summer months.

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  • Trails

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    The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge provides year-round opportunities to explore the sights and sounds of nature.  The Oaks to Wetlands trail on the Carty Unit is open year-round with both short easy strolls as well as longer hiking options hosting magnificent Oregon white oak trees.  The Kiwa Trail on the Auto Tour route is open May through September and offers excellent birding on a flat graveled loop.

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  • Cathlapotle Plankhouse

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    This full-scale Chinookan-style cedar plankhouse serves as an outdoor classroom for interpreting the rich natural and cultural heritage preserved on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.  Receive a tour from a volunteer on a weekend April through September or go to one of the many special family programs offered by the Friends of the Ridgefield NWR.

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  • Naturalist-Led Hikes


    Join a Refuge volunteer naturalist for a series of hikes to sharpen your birding skills, plant id, history of the area, or even your knowledge of nocturnal animals while enjoying Refuge trails.

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  • Waterfowl Hunting

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    Ridgefield NWR has provided a public waterfowl hunting area since it was established in 1965. The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act has identified hunting as a wildlife-dependent, priority public use for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Hunting is an important wildlife management tool, that while practiced in a regulated and responsible manner, does not pose a threat to wildlife populations.

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  • Fishing


    Fishing is permitted on the waters of the Carty Unit. Fishing is allowed according to State fishing regulations. Carp, catfish, bass, crappie, and bluegill are among the potential game species. Trash and waste fishing line are a hazard to wildlife and must be removed by each individual angler.

  • Wildlife Viewing Tips

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    Every season brings new discoveries at the Ridgefield NWR. The patient and frequent observer will be well rewarded with amazing wildlife observation and photographic opportunities. However knowing what to look for and how to best see these sights takes a little practice. Here are a few tips for how to make the best of your trip to the Refuge.

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