Visit Us

National Wildlife Refuges are places where wildlife comes first, and where people can experience the beauty of the natural world in a truly wild place. Although people are welcome, activities are regulated and monitored to ensure that impacts are minimal to the plants and animals that call the refuge “home”. Scroll down to learn more about ways to Visit Us to have a memorable and safe experience at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

  • Malheur Lake
  • Visitor Center, Nature Store and Museum
  • Restrooms
  • Road Conditions
  • Weather and Cell Phone Service
  • Lodging, Fuel and Other Accommodations
  • Activities - Recreational Opportunities
  • Rules and Policies
  • Location
  • Hours

Malheur Lake

To all those who cherish this unique place where desert and water meet, the water fluctuates year to year, causing Malheur Lake and other areas to become dry to tripling in size. This constant fluctuation ensures that the land rejuvenates itself by recycling nutrients, flushing out mineral salts during floods and wind-tilling the soil during droughts. Malheur Lake is closed to the public. Best views of Malheur Lake is at Refuge headquarters on the Overlook Trail and when the water level is high at the Narrows Pullout. 

Malheur Lake and Refuge Headquarters High Water Levels, 1990
Malheur Lake Drought, 1992

Visitor Center, Nature Store and Museum

The Refuge headquarters is located 32 miles south of Burns, Oregon. The main route to the headquarters is on Highway 205 (26 miles) and 6 miles east on Sodhouse Lane. Refuge headquarters is a good starting point for your visit. The Refuge office, Visitor Center, Nature Store and the George Benson Memorial Museum are all located at headquarters. Brochures, maps, information, recent bird sightings, and interpretive panels and exhibits are available. The George Benson Memorial Museum is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The museum contains historic taxidermy mounts of many of the birds that may be viewed on the Refuge and a variety of interpretive exhibits.

Restrooms

Restrooms are located are Refuge headquarters, Buena Vista Overlook, Krumbo Reservoir, and historic P Ranch. The Refuge Map will help you locate public restrooms on the Refuge. Please plan accordingly. 

Road Conditions

Refuge roads are gravel with good clearance. Poor conditions may occur throughout the year. Vehicle pullouts are sparingly available along the 42-mile auto tour route. For larger and recreational vehicles turn arounds are limited. Road closures may occur when road conditions are hazardous, particularly in the fall and winter months. Make sure your vehicle and tires are in good condition and your gas tank is full.

Weather and Cell Phone Service

The Refuge is located in the high desert situated at 4,100 feet in elevation. Radical weather changes, including lightening storms and intense heat and cold, can occur quickly. Be prepared for weather extremes and traveling long distances over paved and gravel roads. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition and your gas tank is full. Carry drinking water is essential, and mosquitoes can be ruthless during the summer months. Weak cell phone signal reception can occur on the Refuge, especially in rural areas.  

Lodging, Fuel and Other Accommodations 

The Refuge does not offer lodging, fuel and other accommodations. Many visitors stop in nearby communities for lodging, fuel or meals. The Refuge promotes surrounding communities and encourages visitors to enjoy the many services and opportunities offered nearby. Visit Harney County Chamber of Commerce for more information. 

Steens Mountain

Activities

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge connects the hearts and minds of visitors with the places and resources the Refuge protects, and enlighten visitor's experiences with an understanding of, appreciation for, and knowledge about historic and natural resources, and the importance of conservation and stewardship with all the outdoor activities available. Please be mindful for wildlife and help protect their habitat by following Refuge Rules and Policies

To protect wildlife and their habitat ALL AREAS ARE CLOSED on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge unless posted open at designated trails, sites, or facilities as determined by the Refuge.

Trails

At Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, hiking in nature is a recreational activity offered at the Refuge. It gives visitors a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with the natural surroundings. Some of the best areas to enjoy the Refuge can be found on Refuge trails. 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. All of our seven trails have trail access information posted at all trailheads.

Trail Etiquette

  • Dispose all trash and animal waste in trash receptacles. Pets must be kept on leash. 
  • Stay on trail, respect plants and wildlife.
  • Leave natural objects such as plants, animals, minerals, antlers and objects of antiquity.
  • Yield to pedestrians; many Refuge routes are multi-use trails.

Rules and Policies

Help Protect Wildlife and Habitat

To protect wildlife and their habitat ALL AREAS ARE CLOSED on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge unless posted open at designated trails, sites, or facilities as determined by the Refuge.

National Wildlife Refuges are places where wildlife comes first, and where people can experience the beauty of the natural world in a truly wild place. Although people are welcome, activities are regulated and monitored to ensure that impacts are minimal to the plants and animals that call the refuge “home”. View all Rules and Policies to further help protect wildlife and their habitat at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

Law enforcement issues should be referred to Refuge headquarters at 541-493-2612.

Locations

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
36391 Sodhouse Lane Princeton, OR 97721-9502
Hours
Refuge Hours
Year-round
Sunrise - Sunset
Museum Hours
Year-round
Sunrise - Sunset
Office Hours
Monday - Thursday
7:00 am - 4:30 pm
Friday
7:00 am - 3:30 pm
Federal Holidays
Closed
Visitor Center Hours
March 1 - October 31
Open
November 1 - February 28
Closed
Nature Store Hours
March 1 - October 31
Open
November 1 - February 28
Closed