Facility Activities

Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge provides a plethora of different public use activities. From hiking to nature photography, there is plenty to do, and just off Interstate-5 too!

Wildlife Viewing

If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to your nearest national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
! At Ankeny wildlife viewing opportunities range from the stately great blue heron, to chittering western gray squirrels and kreck-ek-ing pacific chorus frogs.


For interpretive experiences at Ankeny NWR, check out Ankeny Hill Overlook, the Eagle Marsh Kiosk, Rail Trail Boardwalk, or the Pintail & Egret Marsh Boardwalk. 

Ankeny Hill Nature Center (AHNC) www.ankenyhillnaturecenter.org

Did you know Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge partners with the Salem Audubon Society and the Friends of the WVNWRC to operate a Nature Center at Ankeny Hill?  The Ankeny Hill Nature Center is 25 acres and includes two accessible trails, a Nature Explore Area, education nodes, Oak Overlook, Volunteer Basecamp and that's just the 1st Phase!  The building, Gehlar Hall, is an indoor and outdoor classroom. In the summer of 2023 the Dave Marshall Outdoor Classroom will be built.  The Ankeny Hill Nature Center is dedicated to being as inclusive and accessible as possible.  Visit anytime from dawn to dusk!  It's always free.  www.ankenyhillnaturecenter.org


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

We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive! Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge considers wildlife photography to be a high-priority activity, and we even provide a photography blind on Frog Pond at the Refuge. 

To learn more about our photography blind and the reservation process, follow the link below.

Many refuges champion wildlife viewing as a key recreational activity.
Rangers lead wildlife walks, tours and educational programs at many sites. Events may focus on wildflowers or birds or on seasonal spectacles, such as elk bugling or sea turtle nesting. Some programs may be limited in size or require advance registration. See individual websites for details.
Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you’ll find photo-worthy subjects at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. Wildlife photography is a priority public use on national wildlife refuges, so you’ll find wildlife drives and blinds and overlooks to help you get the images you’re after.
From bald eagles to spoonbills, from condors to puffins, birds abound on national wildlife refuges. Refuges provide places for birds to nest, rest, feed and breed making them world-renown for their birding opportunities.

Ankeny NWR is an incredible place to hike! Observation blinds located on Rail Trail, Pintail and Egret Trails are a great way to get a closer view of the variety of waterfowl on the Refuge. If you want to photograph birds, stop by Pintail and Eagle Marsh. For a boardwalk hike, go to Rail Trail...