Plan Your Visit

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Welcome to the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge  

 Sutter NWR is just one of the 5 National Wildlife Refuges/3 Wildlife Management Areas that make up the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.


Visitor Activities at Sutter NWR include: 

• Seasonal Trail (Feb 15- June 30)
• Hunting (in designated hunt area)
• Wildlife Viewing (other than seasonal trail)
is limited to Hughes Rd.
Sutter NWR is otherwise
closed to public admittance. 
 The Visitor Center for the Complex is located at Sacramento NWR,
about 50 minutes north of Sutter NWR, where you can find maps/brochures, exciting programs, guided tours, exhibits, and a bookstore. To enhance your visit, the Complex lends binoculars and field guides. For the latest news, visit the Complex’s Facebook Page.)    

*For the latest pandemic updates and closures, visit the Alerts page.

  • Hours

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    Sacramento NWR:  
    Visitor Center/Headquarters =
       • Winter Hours (Nov-Feb) 9am-4pm every day
       • Spring-Fall Hours (Mar-Oct) 9am-4pm Mon-Fri
       • Visitor Center is closed on federal holidays
    Auto Tour/Wetland Walk (open year-round)
       • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset
    Seasonal Trails (open Feb 15 - June 30)
       • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset

    Delevan NWR: 
    General viewing is limited to the bordering county roads 

    Colusa NWR
    Auto Tour/Trail (open year-round)
       • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset 

    Sutter NWR
    Seasonal Trails (open Feb 15 - June 30)
       • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset 

    Llano Seco Unit of Steve Thompson North Central Valley WMA
    Trail (open year-round)
       • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset 

    Sacramento River NWR
    Trails (open year-round)
       • 2 hrs before sunrise - 1.5 hrs after sunset 

    Hunting Areas
    : See Hunting Webpage

  • What to Do?....

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    The Sacramento NWR has a 6-mile Auto Tour (pdf) that begins at the visitor center. Visitors are required to stay in their vehicle but there are 3 stop-and-stretch areas where visitors are able to get out of their vehicles. A multi-level platform is located approximately half way around the auto tour. Colusa NWR has a 3-mile Auto Tour (pdf) and a platform at the beginning of the auto tour. By staying in your vehicle, wildlife are less likely to be disturbed.  

  • What to Do?....

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    The Sacramento NWR has a 2-mile Wetland Walk (pdf) that leaves from the Visitor Center and is open year-round, and 5 miles of Spring Trails (pdf) that are open Feb 15 - June 30. Colusa NWR has a 1-mile Walking Trail (pdf) that begins near the viewing platform at the beginning of the Auto Tour.  Sutter NWR has 6 miles of Spring Trails (pdf) that are open from Feb 15 - June 30. The Llano Seco Unit has a 1-mile Walking Trail (pdf) that connects 2 viewing platforms. The Sacramento River NWR has 7 different Units that have over 17 miles of trails.

  • What to Do?....

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    The Visitor Center for the Complex is located at the Sacramento NWR.  At the Visitor Center you can enjoy our bookstore, Discovery Room, and displays.  Watch the Complex's film Unfinished Symphony. Shop the bookstore that is run byAltacal Audubon Society to find field guides, nature books, postcards, t-shirts, and more. The Visitor Center is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. every day from November to February, and weekdays-only the remainder of the year.  Interpretive kiosks, picnic tables, benches and restrooms are located outside the Visitor Center and are available year-round. 


    Join our naturalists for guided walks, photography tours, tram rides and many more exciting events!

  • What to Do?....

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    Check out our Sacramento Valley Birding Map (pdf) and Sandhill Crane Birding Map( pdf), and plan a trip across the Sacramento Valley to see the great variety of birds found on the various refuges, wildlife areas, and state, county and city parks.  Visit the Sacramento NWR's Wildlife page to find recent sightings, waterfowl survey summaries, wildlife checklists, and other information. 

  • What to Do?....

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    Sacramento NWRC offers many photographic opportunities.  The auto tours and walking trails are great places for photographers of all ages and skills.  We offer photography programs from November through March, and  there are 4 photography blinds that are available by reservation only. 

  • What to Do?....

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    Portions of Sacramento NWR, Delevan NWR, Colusa NWR, and Sutter NWR are open to waterfowl and upland game bird hunting.  Find out more.

    Portions of Sacramento River NWR are open to migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.  Find out more.

  • What to Do?....

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    Bicycling is only allowed on a limited number of trails and roads, for a limited time during the year (May 15- Aug 15). To learn more about where bicycling is permitted, click the link.

  • What to Do?....

    symbols - geocaching


    Combine nature and technology on our high-tech scavenger hunt. Visit the Sacramento NWR's webpage for more information.

  • What to Do?....

    symbols - fishing


    Fishing is only available on Packer Lake (on the Packer Unit of Sacramento River NWR), and on the Sacramento River.

  • What to Do?....

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    Thousands of students and youth participate in our educational programs each year. Visit the Sacramento NWR's webpage for more information.

  • Entrance Fee

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    The Sacramento NWR has a $6 entrance fee. Fees collected stay at the Complex and are used for the visitor services program. Visit the Passes and Permits page for more detailed information on the entrance fees.  The Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR, Sacramento River NWR, and Llano Seco Unit of the North Central Valley WMA have no entrance fees.

  • Wildlife

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    Find out what wildlife are here and when it is the best time to see various species. Learn more. 

    Injured WildlifeThe Complex is not equipped to take in or care for injured or orphaned animals. Please leave young wildlife where they are found! The parents often know the young are still there and will continue to feed and care for them.  In Butte, Glenn and Colusa Counties the Valley Oak Veterinary Center on Dr MLK Parkway in Chico accepts wildlife. In the Sacramento metropolitan area contact the Wildlife Care Association at 916-965-WILD(9453).See a list of rehabilitators in CA 

  • Accessibility

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    The Complex is committed to providing equal opportunities for all of our visitors. Refuge-specific brochures are available in Braille and audio versions. All tour routes, platforms, and public buildings have access for people with disabilities. The north loop of the Wetland Walk Trail is wheelchair accessible. The restrooms at Sacramento and Colusa NWRs and the Llano Seco Unit are accessible. For information on hunting, visit the hunting accessibility page. A CD is available in the visitor center describing the auto tour of Sacramento NWR. 

  • How to Get Here

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    Directional Maps:
    Sacramento NWR 
    • Delevan NWR 
    • Colusa NWR 
    • Sutter NWR 
    • Llano Seco Unit 
    • Sacramento River NWR  

    Visitor Services Maps:   
    • Sacramento NWR 
    • Delevan NWR 
    • Colusa NWR 
    • Sutter NWR 
    • Llano Seco Unit 
    • Sacramento River NWR (link to Sac River Activities page)  

  • Local Information and Activities

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    The surrounding communities offer a variety of amenities for visitors. Visit the following webpages for more information about restaurants, lodging, and other activities. Camping is not permitted on the Complex.
    • Willows Chamber of Commerce
    • Colusa County Chamber of Commerce (including the Colusa-Sacramento River SRA)
    • Chico Chamber of Commerce
    Orland Chamber of Commerce
    • Black Butte Lake National Recreation Area  (offers camping)
    • Mendocino National Forest 
    • Local California State Parks with camping: Colusa-Sacramento SRA and Woodson Bridge SRA
    • Local California Department of Fish and Wildlife Areas (no camping permitted): Upper Butte Basin WA, Colusa Bypass WA, Gray Lodge WA, and Sutter Bypass WA 

  • Other Tidbits

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    Dogs are permitted on trails on a 6 foot leash. Spring and summer are tick season. Carry in and carry out - the Complex is a carry in/carry out facility. This means any trash or items you bring in with you, must leave with you. Please leave only footprints, and take only photos and memories!

  • Weather

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    The weather in the Sacramento Valley can range from extreme heat (100+) in the summer to dense fog or blustery winds in the winter. Often there is spotted fog in the Valley. If traveling from the Bay or Sacramento area, feel free to call the Complex to find out if it is foggy here. Check your local news stations to determine what to expect or check The Weather Channel or the National Weather Service (these sites will link to the weather in the town of Willows which is the closest town to Sacramento NWR).

  • Contact Information

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    Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex
    752 County Road 99W, Willows, CA 95988
    Phone: 530-934-2801
    Fax: 530-934-7814
    TTY: 711