Facility Activities

Imperial National Wildlife Refuge offers wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities, including wildlife observation, hiking, hunting, fishing and wildlife photography. We hope that you enjoy this public resource to the best of your ability. 

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.
Boats provide the best way to see many refuges. Some refuges limit the use of motorboats to certain areas, subject to restrictions on engine size.
Many Fish and Wildlife Service sites make great destinations for flatwater canoeing or kayaking. Some sites have concessions that rent canoes or kayaks. Some sites offer scheduled paddle tours. See individual refuge websites for details.
Many sites do not allow dogs because they can disturb wildlife. Refuges that do allow dogs generally require that they be leashed. Some sites allow hunters and sledders to bring dogs.

Refuge waters include Martinez Lake (1,040 acres), Clear Lake (200 acres), Island Lake (2,010 acres) and Adobe Lake (2,080 acres), as well as the Lower Colorado River (2,010 acres). Fishing season is year-round, except for the western half of Martinez Lake and the northern portion of Ferguson...

Take your pick of 2,100 miles of refreshing trails and boardwalks. Whether you want a short, easy walk or a challenging hike, you’re likely to find what you want. Some trails are paved and universally accessible. Some trails include displays on visual arts, local history and culture or environmental education.
Horseback riding is permitted on designated trails of a limited number of refuges. Riders must follow refuge rules and regulations for this activity. See individual refuge websites for details.

While Imperial National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent hunting for a number of species, the most popular game animal serious hunters pursue here is the desert bighorn sheep. Among big game hunters, a desert bighorn hunt is one of the most highly coveted experiences in the world. Tags auctioned...

Painting and sketching in nature is possible at nearly all sites open to the public. Sometimes, sites host public displays of artworks created on the refuge.
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.
A few sites allow picnicking at designated areas.
Many refuges champion wildlife viewing as a key recreational activity.