Facility Activities

Things to Do

If you have 15-minutes...

  • Stop by the visitor contact station for some information followed by a quick walk on the Headquarters Trail.
     

If you have one hour...

  • Go birding! Turnbull is one of the best spots in eastern Washington to see migratory birds, especially in Spring and Fall. 
     

If you have half a day or more...

  • Go for a drive on the scenic auto tour and explore additional trails.

Recreational Opportunities

With the passage of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act in 1997, six wildlife-dependent recreational activities are often managed on refuges as long as they are determined to be compatible, legitimate and appropriate public uses of the refuge. Hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation are often referred to as the "big six". Turnbull offers five of the big six, including environmental education and interpretation programs, great wildlife viewing and photography opportunities, and limited annual hunts for elk, turkey, and waterfowl.

Auto Tour

Auto tour routes offer a great all-season way to see wildlife and habitats from the comfort of your car. By using your car as a viewing blind, you can often see more wildlife than you can see on foot.

At Turnbull NWR, the refuge has a 5.5-mile, one-way scenic auto tour route. This...

Biking

Biking is a good way to see wildlife, learn about habitats and photograph nature. At Turnbull NWR, biking is allowed on both the paved and unpaved roads. Always yield to pedestrians. Riding off-road and on trails is prohibited. E-bikes are permitted on any refuge roads...

Birding

From bald eagles to spoonbills, from condors to puffins, birds abound on national wildlife refuges. Refuges provide places for birds to nest, rest, feed and breed making them world-renown for their birding opportunities.

Here at Turnbull NWR, birding opportunities exist year-round....

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is limited to winters when snowfall is adequate to support skiing (typically one out of every three winters). Users are restricted to the 3,300-acre public use area, but may ski off-trail between the months of September - March, if snowpack is sufficient...

Dog Walking

Dog walking is welcome on the refuge. We recommend the Pine Lakes Loop Trail, as it is close to parking, restrooms, a has a dog waste station.

Pets must be confined or on a leash no longer than six feet at all times.Pets are not permitted at the visitor contact station.Pet owners...
Environmental Education

National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is to serve as an outdoor classroom to teach about wildlife and natural resources. Many refuges offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences. Refuges provide...

Hiking

Turnbull NWR has 11 miles of trails for visitors to explore and enjoy. Most of these trails are short, less than half a mile. Longer routes include the Stubblefield and Bluebird Trails. These easy strolls provide for excellent wildlife observation opportunities, including birds, porcupine...

Hunting

We recognize that hunting is a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage. Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciation of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs. As practiced on refuges, hunting, trapping and fishing do not pose a...

Painting and Drawing

Painting and sketching in nature is possible at nearly all sites open to the public. Nature journaling can be a novel way to connect to the National Wildlife Refuge.

Please note: the painting and leaving of decorated rocks is PROHIBITED.

Picnicking

Picnicking is welcome in the designated picnic areas only. These outdoor pavilions are located next to the environmental education building, near the parking for East Blackhorse Trail, along the Kepple Peninsula Trail, and down the West Blackhorse Trail. This is an excellent location...

Photography

Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past decade has been wildlife photography. That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and smart phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature...

Interpretation

Refuge System interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world. From self-guided walks to refuge- and volunteer-led programs, many national wildlife refuges help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat...

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is limited to winters when snowfall is adequate to support this activity (typically one out of every three winters). Users are restricted to the 3,300-acre public use area, but may ski off-trail between the months of September - March, if snowpack is sufficient. 

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Wildlife Observation

If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to Turnbull. Wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge visitors. Over 180 breeding, resident, and migrating bird species can be found at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge during...