A smartphone snapping a photo of a bright yellow flower in a grassy field

Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you’ll find photo-worthy subjects at the refuge throughout the year. Wildlife photography is a priority public use on national wildlife refuges.  San Luis NWR offers 3 auto tour routes and 8 nature trails, all situated and managed for ideal wildlife observation and photography opportunities.  Stay in your vehicle along auto tour routes and use your car as a photo "blind." Wildlife have become habituated to slow-moving traffic on auto tour routes and tend to stay put; whereas, animals are more likely to flee from people out on foot because they are perceived as a threat.

During the hot dry days of summer, you are more likely to see a greater number of bird species in the morning – the next best time for summer birds is in the late afternoon/early evening. Likewise, most mammals, including the tule elk, are more likely to be visible in the morning or early evening during the hot months.