Welcome to the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge!
Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge is just one of the 5 National Wildlife Refuges and 3 Wildlife Management Areas that make up the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Sacramento River NWR offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors: hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, and wildlife viewing. With 24 units open to the public and the scenic Sacramento River running through many of these units, there's something for everyone!
Visitor Activities at Sacramento River NWR include:
- Trails (open all year) on eight different units
- Wildlife Viewing
- Bicycling (limited to designated trails, open May 15 - Aug 15) on seven units
- Fishing (Packer Lake and along Sacramento River)
- Hunting (in designated areas)
In addition to the above activities, stop by the Visitor Center at the Sacramento NWR. Visitors can enjoy our wildlife exhibit, bookstore, Discovery Room, restrooms, native plant garden, and picnic area with bird feeders. Ask one of our rangers about recent sightings, or borrow a pair of binoculars along with a field guide before you set off on the Auto Tour.
There's More to Explore!
Plan a trip to explore ALL of the refuges of the Sacramento NWR Complex. There's lots to do!
PLAN YOUR VISIT <-- Click here to find all the information you need to visit the Complex.....
• visitor center
• auto tours
• environmental education
• OTHER LOCAL INFORMATION
|PLAN YOUR VISIt|
to the complex
all refuges, below)
-AUTO TOUR page
-River NWR MAPS page
|Wildlife Checklist||-HUNTING page|
-Riv NWR HUNTING page
|Directions - Sac NWR||-Visitor Maps -Sac NWR|
-Wetlands Walk guide
|Wildlife Checklist||Hunt Map - Sac NWR|
|Directions - Del NWR||-||Wildlife Checklist||Hunt Map - Del NWR|
|Directions - Cls NWR||Visitor Map - Cls NWR||Wildlife Checklist||Hunt Map - Cls NWR|
|Directions - Sut NWR||Visitor Map - Sut NWR||Wildlife Checklist||Hunt Map - Sut NWR|
|Riv NWR MAPS page||Riv NWR MAPS page||Wildlife Checklist||Riv NWR MAPS page|
|Directions - Llano Seco||Visitor Map - Llano Seco||Wildlife Checklist||-|
Visit our Unit Maps and Recreation page to find details, maps and brochures about the units of the Sacramento River NWR.
Eight of Sacramento River NWR's units have trails:
- Rio Vista - on South Avenue east of Corning; 6.5 miles of marked trails
- Pine Creek - on Highway 32 west of Hamilton City; 3 miles of marked trails
- Capay - on Road 23, off of Highway 45 south of Hamilton City; 3 miles of marked trails
- Ord Bend - on Ord Ferry Road just west of Sacramento River; 1 mile of marked trails
- Sul Norte - on Highway 162 west of Butte City; 2.5 miles of marked trails
- Codora - access through the Sul Norte parking area; 4.5 miles of marked trails
- Packer - on Highway 45 north of Princeton; 1.5 miles of marked trails
- Drumheller - on Road 67 southeast of Butte City; 0.4 miles of marked trails
- Bicycles: from May 15 - August 15 bicycles are permitted on the trails except at Ord Bend.
- Hunting: some units allow hunting between August 1 - May 31, so check the table on our Unit Maps and Recreation page if you are concerned about user-overlap.
- Restrooms: restrooms are only available at Sul Norte unit and Llano Seco unit.
- Wildlife Viewing: all areas have habitat that offer great viewing of songbirds between March and late May.
Be Prepared! These are natural and wild areas. You may encounter ticks, mosquitoes, wasps, yellow-jackets, bees, poison oak, stinging nettle, poison hemlock, rattle snakes (Sac River NWR) and mountain lions.
Other Facilities in the Complex
The Sacramento River NWR is part of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The Complex is comprised of 5 National Wildlife Refuges (Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa, Sutter and Sacramento River NWRs) and 3 Wildlife Management Areas (Willow Creek-Lurline, Butte Sink and Steve Thompson North Central Valley WMAs). Sacramento NWR, located near Willows, CA, serves as the headquarters for the Complex. Find out more about each Refuge or Wildlife Management Area below.
Rules and Policies
All areas of the Sacramento River NWR are closed to public entry unless otherwise explicitly posted as a hunting area, parking area, nature trail, or an area otherwise open to public use.
The following rules apply to the Sacramento NWR Complex except where otherwise posted:
Visitors to National Wildlife Refuges must comply with all applicable local, State, Federal regulations and signs.
Fees and Permits:
The Sacramento NWR collects a $6 day use fee for the Auto Tour Route (annual passes are $12). Holders of a Federal Duck Stamp and various Interagency Passes get in for free. There are no fees for use of the trails or Auto Tour at the other refuges (Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR, Sacramento River NWR, Llano Seco Unit). Visit our Passes and Permits page for more fee information.
Specific State/Federal permits/licenses are required for hunting (Sacramento NWR, Delevan NWR, Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR, Sacramento River NWR) and fishing (allowed on Sacramento River NWR only). Visit our Hunt Area Permits page for more information. Hunters must comply with State of California license requirements and regulations. See State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife website for more information: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/
A Special Use Permit (SUP) is required to enter closed areas or conduct activities that are otherwise prohibited (ie research projects, commercial activities, large organized events). For more information, contact the Complex Headquarters to speak with the refuge manager of the area where the proposed activity will occur: (530)934-2801. Visit our Passes and Permits page for more fee and permits information.
While on the Auto Tour Routes (Sacramento NWR and Colusa NWR), visitors are required to stay in their vehicles. The Sacramento NWR Auto Tour has 3 park-and-stretch areas to allow visitors to get out of their vehicles. This is a citable offense with fines up to $275.
Respect Closed Zones:
National Wildlife Refuges were created for wildlife. Areas throughout the refuge are designated as closed or restricted-use areas to protect wildlife or for public safety. Please read and adhere to the regulations identified by signs.
OPEN Areas: Areas open to public use will be posted as such. Road entrances to public use areas have a large brown refuge sign, open gate, and posted hours. Areas open to the public include designated Auto Tour Routes, Nature Trails, and Parking Lots. Areas open to the public are listed on the refuge public use maps – follow the “MAPS” tab on the right side of this web page. Public use areas are DAY USE ONLY.
CLOSED Areas: Areas closed to the public include all property that is not explicitly posted as an area open to the public. Closed area boundaries are posted along accessible areas with signs that may list the following: “UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY PROHIBITED”; “AREA BEYOND THIS SIGN CLOSED All public entry prohibited.” Visitors must stay out of posted closed areas. Visitors that enter posted closed areas are trespassing and are subject to law enforcement action including citations.
Hunting is allowed in designated areas of Sacramento NWR, Delevan NWR, Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR, and Sacramento River NWR with appropriate licenses and permits. Visit the Sacramento NWR Complex hunting page and the Sacramento River NWR hunting page for more information.
Dogs are allowed where visitors are allowed. Dogs must be on-leash (no more than 6 ft long) while on trails or parking lots, except for authorized hunting activities under the immediate control of a licensed hunter. Owners/handlers are responsible for disposal of dog droppings on refuge public use concentration areas such as trails and parking lots. National Wildlife Refuges provide habitat for native wildlife. Pets (including waterfowl) are not allowed to be released on the refuge.
The on-refuge speed limit is 15 mph.
The Complex is committed to providing equal opportunities for all of our visitors. Refuge-specific brochures are available in Braille and audio versions. A CD is available in the Visitor Center describing the Auto Tour of the Sacramento NWR. All tour routes, platforms, and public buildings have access for people with disabilities. The north loop of the Wetland Walk Trail is wheelchair accessible. The restrooms at Sacramento and Colusa NWRs and the Llano Seco Unit are accessible. For information on hunting, visit the hunting accessibility page.
Camping and Fires:
Camping is not permitted on the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, with the exception of the following: 1) on the Sacramento River, camping is permitted on gravel bars for up to 7 days during a 30 day period, and 2) for waterfowl hunting, an overnight stay is permitted inside a vehicle or RV in designated areas; tents are prohibited. No person may build or maintain fires except for the use of portable gas stoves on Sacramento River gravel bars and in Hunter Check Station parking lots.
Fishing is only permitted on Packer Lake (Sacramento River NWR) and on the Sacramento River. Follow state regulations.
Bicycling is only permitted on the following areas from May 15 - August 15: Sacramento NWR Auto Tour, Colusa NWR Auto Tour, and Sacramento River NWR trails of the following units: Rio Vista, Pine Creek, Capay, Sul Norte, Packer, and Drumheller. Bicycling is otherwise not permitted. Visit the Bicycling page for more information.
- Use of posted Auto Tour Routes (Sacramento NWR, Colusa NWR)
- Use of posted Nature Trails (Sacramento NWR, Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR, Sacramento River NWR, Llano Seco Unit)
- Use of posted Hunt Areas within approved hunting season (Sacramento NWR, Delevan NWR, Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR, Sacramento River NWR)
- Use of posted Parking Lots
- Pets on leash when outside vehicle
- Day use only
ALL areas of the refuges are CLOSED to public entry unless explicitly posted as a public-use area. Visitors must comply with ALL posted rules and regulations, in addition to what is listed below. Except where otherwise permitted/posted:
- No trespassing in posted closed areas
- No entry behind closed gates or fences
- No night use
- No travel off of designated public use road or trail
- No parking outside of designated parking lots
- No pets off leash when outside of vehicles
- No dog field trials or dog training that involves being off-leash
- No walking on auto tour routes
- No horseback riding
- No camping
- No fires or open flame cooking grills
- No weapons (except shotguns used during lawful hunting activities as authorized by permit)
- No discharge of firearms (except during lawful hunting activities as authorized by permit)
- No take, disturbance or collection of wildlife or plants
- No search for or removal of objects of antiquity or other valued objects
- No prospecting or mining
- No littering
- No removal of any property from refuge
- No feeding wildlife
- No spotlighting
- No interference with persons engaged in authorized activities
- No alcohol or illegal drugs, including marijuana
- No drone activity
For directions to the Sacramento River NWR units that are accessible by vehicle, visit the Maps page.