Plan Your Visit
to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Whether you like to hike, photograph, birdwatch, hunt, bicycle, or learn something new at the Visitor Center, there is something for everyone to do at the Sacramento NWR Complex.
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NEWS on DROUGHT IMPACTS - 2022-23

Due to drought conditions at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, waterfowl hunting season opener is delayed and other recreational opportunities may potentially be impacted. 

CHECK HERE FOR UPDATES TO VISITOR USE AREAS AND ACTIVITIES...we will post information as soon as it becomes available:

  • FALL FLOOD-UPS =
    • Sacramento, Delevan and Colusa NWRs are anticipated to be able to flood 50% of their total wetlands this year.  Flood-ups have started and should be done by mid-November.  Water availability, wind, temperature, and precipitation will affect our ability to flood up, and changes to our best-laid plans are LIKELY.  Please be patient as we do our best with the conditions at hand.
    • Sutter NWR = it is unknown at this time if/when Sutter will receive water.  We will provide information as soon as it is available.
    • Steve Thompson North Central Valley WMA - Llano Seco Unit is anticipated to be able to flood 100% of their total wetlands this year.  Flood-ups will begin October 1 and should be done by mid-November.
  • HUNTING =
    • Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa NWRs are anticipated to open to hunting at a reduced quota once the refuges reach the mark of 50% flooded (mid-November)
    • Sutter NWR = it is unknown at this time if/when Sutter will be open to hunting.  We will provide information as soon as it is available.
    • Sacramento River NWR = the hunting areas of Sacramento River NWR will remain open
  • AUTO TOURS = the auto tours at Sacramento and Colusa NWRs are anticipated to remain open at this time
    • Many, but not all, of the ponds along the auto tours are anticipated to be flooded  
      • The ponds at the beginning of the Colusa auto tour are anticipated to remain DRY, including the pond at the observation deck, due to insufficient water in the canal that supplies the lift pump for this section of the refuge (everything to the northeast of the Colusa Basin Drain)
  • TRAILS = the trails at Sacramento NWR, Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR (spring trails), Sacramento River NWR and the Llano Seco Unit are anticipated to remain open at this time
  • PHOTOGRAPHY BLINDS =
    • Photo Blinds #1 and #2 at Sacramento NWR are anticipated to be available
    • Photo Blinds #3 and #4 at Colusa NWR and Delevan NWR will NOT be available due to lack of water
    • Reservation applications will be received for Photo Blinds #1 and #2 from September 15 - October 15 (2 weeks later this year)
  • **CLOSURES** = due to drought conditions, it is unknown what impacts will be to wildlife health, concentrations and distribution.  We will be monitoring waterfowl populations and disease outbreaks (avian botulism, avian cholera and avian influenza) closely, and MAY DEEM IT NECESSARY AT ANY POINT TO CLOSE OR REDUCE PUBLIC USE to minimize disturbance and reduce waterfowl concentrations.
  • Click here to view the News Release

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- Click on the ACTIVITIES below to find details about what the Complex has to offer.

- SCROLL DOWN to find information on hours, fees, directions, maps and more.

 

 

 

 

ACTIVITIES

  • Sacramento NWR
  • Delevan NWR
    • Photography Blind (by reservation)
    • Wildlife Viewing is limited to the bordering county roads (Maxwell & Four Mile Rd). Delevan NWR is otherwise closed to public admittance.
    • Hunting (in designated hunt area)
       
  • Colusa NWR
    • Visitor Area (including info kiosk, restroom, native garden, picnic area)
    • Auto Tour (3-miles) with an Observation Deck
    • Trail (1-mile round trip, open all year)
    • Photography (including 1 Photo Blind, by reservation)
    • Wildlife Viewing
    • Bicycling (limited to Auto Tour between May 15 - Aug 15)
    • Hunting (in designated hunt area)
       
  • Sutter NWR
    • Trails (6-miles Seasonal Trails, open Feb 15 - Jun 30)
    • Photography is limited to Hughes Rd (other than Seasonal Trails). Sutter NWR is otherwise closed to public admittance. 
    • Wildlife Viewing is limited to Hughes Rd (other than Seasonal Trails). Sutter NWR is otherwise closed to public admittance. 
    • Hunting (in designated hunt area)
       
  • Sacramento River NWR
    • Trails (open all year) on eight different units
    • Photography
    • 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)
       
  • Llano Seco Unit (Steve Thompson N. Central Valley WMA): 
    • Visitor Area (including Observation Deck, info kiosk, restroom)
    • Trail (open all year, 1-mile round trip) with an Observation Mound
    • Photography
    • Wildlife Viewing
       

HOURS

Sacramento NWR:
  Visitor Center/Headquarters = currently closed due to construction
     • Winter hours (November-February) =  9 am- 4 pm daily
     • Spring hours (March-October) = 9 am- 4 pm Monday-Friday*
       *closed on federal holidays
   Auto Tour and Wetland Walk (open year-round) = 
     • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset
  Seasonal Trails (open Feb 15 - June 30) = 
     • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset      

Delevan NWR: 
  General viewing is limited to the bordering county roads 

Colusa NWR: 
  Auto Tour and Trail (open year-round) = 
     • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset 

Sutter NWR: 
  Seasonal Trails (open Feb 15 - June 30) = 
     • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset 

Llano Seco Unit of Steve Thompson North Central Valley WMA: 
  Trail (open year-round) = 
     • 1 hr before sunrise - 1 hr after sunset 

Sacramento River NWR: 
  Trails (open year-round) = 
     • 2 hrs before sunrise - 1.5 hrs after sunset 

Hunting Areas: See Hunting Webpage

 

FEES

Sacramento NWR:
An entrance pass is required at Sacramento NWR. Valid passes include refuge passes ($6 daily pass/$12 annual pass), current year Federal Duck Stamp, or an Interagency America the Beautiful Pass. Visit our Passes and Permits page for more detailed information.

Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR (seasonal trails), Sacramento River NWR, Llano Seco Unit:
Entrance passes are not currently required for admission into the Visitor Use Areas of Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR (open Feb 15-Jun 30), Sacramento River NWR, or the Llano Seco Unit. 

Special Use Permits:
Additional special use permits are required for commercial photography use, scientific research, and access to closed areas. Visit our Passes and Permits page for more detailed information.

Hunting:
Special licenses, validations & passes are required for hunting. Visit the Hunting Permits and Regulations page for more detailed information on entering the hunt areas.

 

ACCESSIBILITY

The Complex is committed to providing equal opportunities for all of our visitors.
• Refuge-specific brochures are available in Braille and audio versions.
• All tour routes, platforms, and public buildings have access for people with disabilities.
• A CD is available in the visitor center describing the auto tour of Sacramento NWR.
• 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.

 

 

HOW TO GET HERE

Directional Maps:
• Sacramento NWR  
• Delevan NWR 
• Colusa NWR  
• Sutter NWR  
• Llano Seco Unit  
• Sacramento River NWR 

 

 

 

OTHER TIDBITS

• Dogs: are permitted on trails on a 6 foot leash.
Ticks: spring and summer are tick season.
Trash: the Complex is a carry in/carry out facility. This means anything you bring in with you, must leave with you.
Walk Softly: Please leave only footprints, and take only photos and memories!

 

 

 

WEATHER

The weather in the Sacramento Valley can range from extreme heat (100+) in the summer to dense fog or blustery winds in the winter. Often there is spotted fog in the Valley. If traveling from the Bay or Sacramento area, feel free to call the Complex to find out if it is foggy here. Check your local news stations to determine what to expect or check The Weather Channel or the National Weather Service (search Willows, CA or by zip 95988). View the live weather feed data collected on the Sacramento NWR.

 

LOCAL INFORMATION AND ACTIVITIES

The surrounding communities offer a variety of amenities for visitors. Visit the following webpages for more information about restaurants, lodging, and other activities. Camping is not permitted on the Complex.
• Willows Chamber of Commerce
• Colusa County Chamber of Commerce (including the Colusa-Sacramento River SRA)
• Chico Chamber of Commerce
 Orland Chamber of Commerce
• Black Butte Lake National Recreation Area  (offers camping)
• Mendocino National Forest 
• Local California State Parks with camping: Colusa-Sacramento SRA and Woodson Bridge SRA
• Local California Department of Fish and Wildlife Areas (no camping permitted): Upper Butte Basin WA, Colusa Bypass WA, Gray Lodge WA, and Sutter Bypass WA 

 

CONTACT US

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex
752 County Road 99W, Willows, CA 95988
Phone: 530-934-2801
Fax: 530-934-7814
TTY: 711
email: sacramentovalleyrefuges@fws.gov