Visit Us

Visitors will discover scenic landscapes and opportunities to view wildlife, all within a short drive of the Portland-Vancouver metro area. A close-by escape from the city, the Refuge provides a home for local animals and plants that live here year-round, as well as those that migrate here for a season. With every visit, there is the opportunity to experience something new or expand your learning of what may be familiar to you. 

Visitor Parking:

The main Refuge entrance has a parking lot with one ADA van accessible spot/unloading area and one additional ADA accessible parking spot on the east side of the lot near the trailhead kiosk. There is one Bus/RV spot. If planning a visit with a bus, please contact Refuge Staff to ensure the spot is not already in use during your visit, by calling 360-887-8767.

 

Welcome Area in Parking Lot:

Surface: Crushed gravel

Average path width: 5 feet 

Site Information: The Mt. View Trailhead provides information about the site including a Welcome Kiosk with a complete trail map, handouts on the site and trails, youth-focused guides, a bulletin board with upcoming events and a whiteboard to read about recent sightings and post your own!

Restrooms: Two all gender ADA pit toilets (non-flushing) with grab bars. No running water, changing tables or trash bins provided. Toilets are located about 300 feet from the parking lot, along a crushed gravel trail. 

Benches: 2 stone benches are located between the parking lot and the restroom and 2 more are located just south beyond the restroom. 

Activities

At your local refuges, we celebrate that everyone experiences nature and the benefits of being outdoors in different ways. Staff strive to create outdoor experiences for those coming from many backgrounds, interests, and comfort levels. The following are wildlife-dependent activities that will help you explore the outdoors and experience your own personal connection to the natural world.

Trails

Printable Trail Map and Information

The Mountain View Trail is named for the view of Mt Hood that can be seen on a clear day. It allows you to look out east over the Refuge from the trail that sits high on top of this west levee. The trail also serves as a service road, used only occasionally for maintenance purposes.  

The main access to this trail is from the parking lot. Head up the trail just past the restrooms to the top of the levee. The trail continues straight ahead to a view point where you’ll find two stone benches and breathtaking views of the floodplain below. Beyond the viewpoint the trail will continue for about a mile, before intersecting the Refuge River Trail. 

  • Uses: Pedestrian only. (No dogs, horses or bicycles) Great for wildlife observation and photography. 
  • Length: 1 mile from parking lot to Refuge River Trail intersection 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Route Type: Point to point as part of a larger trail network.  
  • Surface: Compact gravel 
  • Average width: 12 feet 
  • Max slope: 5% 
  • Benches: 2 at view point.

 

Things to consider:  

  • Because this trail is up you are more exposed to the weather. There are no shaded areas or wind protection on this trail. 

  • There are no physical markers to designate the sides of the trail

  • There are no distance markers or other signage along the trail 

  • The gate in the parking lot closes automatically. Remember to check the closing time and give yourself plenty of time to return to your car. Visitors locked in the parking lot will need to call the police non-emergency line at 311.  

 

The Refuge River Trail is the only multi-use trail allowing the unique opportunity to experience the Refuge with a bicycle, horse, or leashed dog.  

The trail can be accessed from the western entrance of the Refuge near Index Street (see William Clark Park), or by the pedestrian only Mt. View Trail. From Index Street it meets up with the Mt. View Trail after about a mile and continues east for 2.5 more. This trail parallels the Columbia River and then meanders further into the Refuge. Two large foot bridges and a viewpoint overlooking the river allows you different ways to connect and view the Refuge.   

  • Uses: Bicycles, jogging, horseback riding, and leashed dogs. Great for scenic views and exercise.  
  • Length: 2.5 miles 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Route Type: Point to point as part of a larger trail network.  
  • Surface: Compact gravel, Soft sand for .3 m between Gibbons Creek Art Trail connection points (see map) 
  • Average width: 10 feet 
  • Max slope: 5% 
  • Benches: At viewpoint and first bridge

 

Things to consider:  

  • This trail has heavy use on sunny days, especially in the summer. Visitors share this trail with horses, cyclists, and leashed dogs. 

  • There are no distance markers or other signage along the trail 

 

Along the Gibbons Creek Art Trail you will not find signs to read, but art to discover as you explore. Look for quotes hidden among the stone benches, unique sculptures, and wildlife cut outs to lock your bike to.  We hope this art will inspire you to wonder about the nature it represents.  

The trail is accessed from theRefuge River Trail and wraps around Redtail lake over two bridges. A small out and back trail heads west off the second bridge to a short dead end looking out over a wetland. The trail connects with the Refuge River trail again at the first of the two bridges.  

  • Uses: Pedestrian only. (No dogs, horses or bicycles) Great for wildlife observation and photography. 
  • Length: 1 mile 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Route Type: Point to point as part of a larger trail network.  
  • Surface: Compact gravel 
  • Average width: 6 feet 
  • Max slope: 5% 
  • Benches: At redtail lake and between the two bridges

 

Things to consider: 

  • Dogs, horses and bicycles are not compatible with the wildlife needs on this part of the refuge. Please plan accordingly if you plan to use this part of the trail network. Bicycle racks are available 

  • The .1 m out and back does not have a turn around area for wheel chairs 

  • There are no distance markers or other signage along the trail

 

Related Documents

Steigerwald Lake NWR reopens in May with a new trail system! Due to the recent reconstruction the trail map data on this site is outdated. Please refer to this map for the latest trail information. 

Steigerwald Lake NWR Map May 1

Other Facilities in the Complex

The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex is comprised of four refuges along the lower Columbia River.

Rules and Policies

The refuge welcomes visitors to experience nature in ways that depend upon wildlife, such as wildlife observation, photography and environmental education. Other activities that are not wildlife-dependent such as biking, jogging and horseback riding are uniquely offered at this refuge along the Refuge River Trail. The following rules and policies are intended to keep both wildlife and visitors safe and provide an enjoyable experience for all. 

Locations

Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge - Mt. View Trailhead
Washougal, WA 98671
Driving Directions
  • From Vancouver, WA  travel east on  WA SR 14 for about 18 miles
  • Look for a brown sign indicating the Refuge is ahead 1/4 mile out
  • Just past Washougal River Road you will see 45th Street on your left and the Refuge on your right. 
Hours
Automatic Gate Times
Daily
7:30 to 6:30
County Park Entrance to Refuge - River Trailhead

This is the secondary entrance to Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge and the main trailhead for the Refuge River Trail (the only trail on the Refuge that allows dogs on leash, bikes, horses and and jogging.)

Parking and restrooms near this entrance are not managed by the Refuge. Please follow all County Park regulations when entering parking here. 

Hours
Day Use Only
Daily
7:30 to 6:30