The sedges were full of birds, the waters were full of birds: avocets, stilts, willets, killdeers, coots, phalaropes, rails, tule wrens, yellow-headed black birds, black terns, Forster’s terns, Caspian terns, pintail, mallard, cinnamon teal, canvasback, redhead and ruddy ducks. Canada geese, night herons, great blue herons, Farallon cormorants, great white pelicans, great glossy ibises, California gulls, eared grebes, Western grebes—clouds of them, acres of them, square miles—one hundred and forty-three square miles of them!

- Dallas Lore Sharp (1914) remarking on Lake Malheur Bird Reservation
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) NOTICE

Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you Recreate Responsibly.

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information.
  • Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.

Visit Us

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southeastern Oregon’s high desert, at the northern end of the Great Basin. It is adjacent to the Steens Mountain, from which the Wild and Scenic Donner und Blitzen River flows into the Refuge’s southern boundary. The Refuge is famous for spectacular concentrations of wildlife, which are attracted to the Refuge’s habitats and abundant water resources in an otherwise arid landscape. Visitors are drawn to Malheur’s abundant wildlife and natural resources, and the variety of recreational opportunities the Refuge provides for visitors to enjoy.

Location and Contact Information

      Plan Your Visit

      Let our staff and volunteers at the Visitor Center help you plan your visit! The Visitor Center is located at Refuge headquarters and is a great starting point for you to become more familiar with the Refuge and the wildlife that live here. Visitors can obtain Refuge brochures and maps, see the most recent bird sightings, learn about birding “hot spots”, and browse nature and wildlife interpretive panels and exhibits. Learn more about other recreational opportunities such as wildlife watching, photography, the auto tour route, trails, fishing, hunting. 

      While there at Refuge headquarters, visit the Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Nature Store for field guides, t-shirts and other educational items. Visit the museum that houses interpretive exhibits with nearly 200 mounted wildlife specimens. The great variety of trees and shrubs at Refuge headquarters attracts many birds, making it one of the best places in Oregon to see migrating songbirds. Marshall Pond is an excellent spot to see wildlife and view Malheur Lake from the overlook just above the headquarters.

      If the Visitor Center and Nature Store are closed, still plan a visit to Refuge headquarters. Brochures are available, and the Refuge and museum are open daily from sunrise to sunset. 

      About Us

      For thousands of years, people have been drawn to Malheur's abundant wildlife and natural resources. The story begins with the earliest evidence of people to the establishment of the Refuge. Malheur is committed to protecting these resources of plants, animals and human interactions with each other, and the landscape over time. Learn more about the geology and geomorphology of the area, Native American uses, the era of the fur trappers, settling the land and setting aside land for wildlife, the profound effect of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at Malheur, and the establishment of the Refuge.

      What We Do

      The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the Refuge System. It drives everything we do from the purpose a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

      Our Species

      Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1908 to protect migratory waterfowl, with an emphasis on colonial nesting species. Today, the Refuge encompasses over 187,000 acres that is disproportionately important as a stop along the Pacific Flyway, and as resting, breeding and nesting area for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds and other wildlife. Many of the species migrating through or breeding at Malheur are highlighted as priority species in national bird conservation plans. 

      Get Involved

      Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community by doing what you love. National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and residents of urban and coastal communities to make a lasting difference. Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying.