Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 20,000 acres in eastern Washington on the edge of the Columbia River Basin. The Channeled Scablands ecosystem that predominates the Refuge is unique within the National Wildlife Refuge System and has characteristics that distinguish it from the natural reserves worldwide. Ponderosa pine, wetlands, meadow steppe and riparian habitat dominate the landscape. The refuge is approximately a 40-minute drive from Spokane, Washington. An abundance and diversity of wildlife and wildflowers awaits the traveling visitor.

Visit Us

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is open during daylight hours.  A daily fee per vehicle is required from March - October 31.   You’ll find information on the refuge’s history, wildlife, and management at the interpretive kiosks at the refuge’s entrance, public restrooms, headquarters, and trailheads. Our Visitor Center offers additional information and hands on activities for the inquiring mind as well as books and other gift ideas at the Friends of Turnbull nature store. The entrance road, auto tour route, and designated parking areas are available for year-round street vehicle and bicycle use in the Visitor Use Area. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on trails or roads designated for hiking only. Off road vehicle use is not allowed. Visitors are welcome to drive, walk or bicycle the 5.5-mile auto tour route where most waterfowl and other wildlife can be observed. Over 10 miles of hiking trails, including 3 accessible trails, are available in the Visitor Use Area. Blackhorse Lake offers an accessible boardwalk that allows all visitors easy lake viewing. All visitors are required to stay on designated trails and roads March 1 through August 15.

Location and Contact Information

      Wildlife Viewing Tips

      The patient observer will be rewarded with many wildlife viewing opportunities. Early morning and evening are the best times to observe wildlife. Spring migration occurs from mid-March through mid-May and fall migration from September through November. Most waterfowl can be found on wetlands along the auto tour route. A variety of other wildlife may be observed along the trails in the riparian riparian
      Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

      Learn more about riparian
      , ponderosa pine forest, or grassland habitats.  

      Binoculars, camera, field guides, water, and a lunch will contribute to a pleasant visit. Quietly listen for calls and songs and wait for wildlife to resume their activities. Use your car as a blind for wildlife viewing and photography. Observation blinds may be available to allow a close-up view of wildlife with minimal disturbance.

      Our Organization

      Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge has numerous programs to effectively manage wildlife and habitat native to this ecosystem and to provide visitor services compatible to our refuge's mission and goals. Wildlife Management-related programs include fire management, forest restoration, water and wetland management, private lands conservation, invasive species invasive species
      An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

      Learn more about invasive species
      control, inventory and monitoring, and wildlife population management. To assist us in meeting our management goals and objectives we provide environmental education and volunteering opportunities.

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

      Our Species

      Turnbull supports a large variety of wildlife. Over 200 different kinds of birds have been recorded on the refuge. Of prime importance, the refuge conserves habitat for 25 species of nesting and migrating waterfowl including ducks geese and swans. Neotropical migratory songbirds, shorebirds and other water birds are found in abundance in riparian riparian
      Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

      Learn more about riparian

      areas and wetlands. Mammals include moose, Rocky Mountain elk, white-tailed and mule deer, coyote, badger, river otter, porcupine, muskrat, beaver, bobcat and cougar. Numerous small mammals ranging from shrews to Columbian ground squirrels abound in different refuge habitats as well as a dozen reptile and amphibian species. The Channeled Scablands is a great haven for the 11 species of bats that have been documented at the refuge.

      Projects and Research

      Turnbull’s focus includes restoring and maintaining the native ecosystem processes of the Channeled Scablands.  Habitat on the refuge is managed to sustain the diversity of flora and fauna native to this unique ecosystem.  To achieve habitat diversity, the refuge reintroduces fire to fire-dependent plant communities, restores wetlands, deploys invasive species invasive species
      An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

      Learn more about invasive species
      control, and plants native vegetation. Research is conducted on various habitats and wildlife to direct future management. Elk is also carefully managed through a limited-entry annual hunt to ensure a healthy regeneration of riparian riparian
      Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

      Learn more about riparian
      forests. The Refuge provides an extensive environmental education and outreach program for students of all ages.