Facility Activities

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a perfect destination to be immersed into nature and leave the hustle and bustle of urban life behind. Once on the trails, visitors will be immersed into the different habitats representing the Nisqually River Delta. The refuge provides opportunities to explore the natural and cultural history of the southern Puget Sound region through exhibits in the Norm Dicks Visitor Center or from interpretive panels along the trails. Walk along the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk and observe harbor seals resting on salt marsh salt marsh
Salt marshes are found in tidal areas near the coast, where freshwater mixes with saltwater.

Learn more about salt marsh
islands, walk the Riparian Forest trail and look for salmon in the slough, or walk the infamous Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk that extends one mile over the Nisqually estuary. Seasonal guided walks and lectures are offered, and the environmental education program provides students with hands-on learning experiences in nature. Each season reveals different vistas and viewing opportunities.

A little more than four miles of trails are offered year-round. Caution should be taken during fall and winter when the trails are littered with wet leaves and winter temperatures are at, or below freezing. Refuge staff regularly blow leaves and sand the boardwalks regularly. During hot summer...

The mosaic of different habitats on the refuge provides for abundant wildlife throughout the year. At least 250 species of birds have been recorded and viewing is always an exceptional experience. The greatest diversity of bird species occurs during the spring and fall migrations. Shorebirds...

The patient observer will be rewarded with many opportunities to view wildlife at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Every season brings a new wealth of discoveries. Depending on the season, you will be rewarded with nature small and large, including: aquatic insects, amphibians...

The refuge provides enhanced opportunities to photograph a diversity of wildlife and the natural scenic landscape with numerous viewing platforms and natural vegetation along the boardwalk to minimize wildlife disturbance. We require all visitors to stay on trails and designated open areas...

The refuge provides opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world with the use of exhibits, interpretive panels, and printed materials. For additional insight about the rich natural, historic, and cultural resources, we offer ranger and volunteer guided walks from...

Each year approximately 10,000 students, teachers, and group leaders visit Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge for a field trip. Field trips are designed to support the learning goals of each visiting group.   

The Refuge offers ...

Boating is permitted in waters outside the Refuge's Sanctuary Area and seasonally in the Research Natural Area (April through September). Boaters must stay in their boat; no landing is permitted. Non-motorized boaters (canoeists, kayakers, and small boaters) should be aware of hazardous tides,...

Fishing in the Nisqually River Delta is limited to boats access only. There is no bank fishing in the estuary, along McAllister Creek, and the Nisqually River is not available on the refuge. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s regulations and requirements apply to all fishing activity...

Waterfowl hunting is permitted in designated areas on the Nisqually River Delta during the fall and winter hunt season. The Federal Duck Stamp is required and the State of Washington's hunting season and regulations apply. 

All portions of the Refuge are closed to waterfowl...