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Trip Planner: USA / Washington State / Ridgefield / Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife preserve, one of the national wildlife refuges operated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, located in the westernmost part of Clark County, Washington. The refuge protects more than of marshes, grasslands, and woodlands. The refuge was established (along with 3 other refuges in the Willamette Valley of Oregon) in 1965, in response to a need to establish vital winter habitat for wintering waterfowl with an emphasis on the dusky Canada goose whose nesting areas in Alaska were severely impacted by the violent earthquake of 1964.
Ridgefield NWR is part of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex, headquartered in Ridgefield, Washington, which oversees the management of four refuges in the southwestern part of the state: Ridgefield, and three refuges in the Columbia River Gorge: Franz Lake, Pierce, and Steigerwald Lake.
Preservation of the natural Columbia River floodplain is the management objective of the Carty, 2 mile (3 km) self-guided hiking trail, Roth and Ridgeport Dairy units. The River 'S', 4.2 mile (7 km) auto tour route and 1.2 mile (2 km) seasonal hiking trail, and Bachelor Island units are managed to maximize habitat for waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. To visit Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and get the most from your holiday in Ridgefield, create itinerary details personal to you using our Ridgefield road trip tool.
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge reviews
We go here all the time.The beauty of a visit here is that no two times are ever the same.The road can be a bit rough,but maybe that's the point.Bring your camera or binoculars, slow down and...
We go here all the time.The beauty of a visit here is that no two times are ever the same.The road can be a bit rough,but maybe that's the point.Bring your camera or binoculars, slow down and... more »
Thie wildlife refuge is not that busy and the driving road is dusty and bumpy, but the trail is well worth the trip and it must be even better when there are migrating birds.
Thie wildlife refuge is not that busy and the driving road is dusty and bumpy, but the trail is well worth the trip and it must be even better when there are migrating birds. more »
There are two different entrances to this wildlife reserve; we went via the River S entrance and were not disappointed even though we were in a transition period between summer and fall. If you use...
There are two different entrances to this wildlife reserve; we went via the River S entrance and were not disappointed even though we were in a transition period between summer and fall. If you use... more »
Beautiful spot to stroll along the waterway. Been there twice but still haven't gotten to do the full loop because of the same section of trail being closed both times (once for flooding, once for herbicide application). Still, there's a lot to see. The tundra swans were there last time. The huge oak trees are always there and worth seeing in themselves. There is a $3 per car day use fee, so bring some cash to stuff in the envelope. Also, the refuge has a 4-mile driving loop a few miles away that's supposed to be beautiful. It was about to close (gate said it closes at 4:30) when we got there, so couldn't check it out. Next time.
As a resident of Ridgefield WA, this is a wonderful place to walk, bike, and take in the scenery. Many varieties of plants, birds and wildlife can be safely observed and photographed here. I highly recommend coming out on a clear sunny day to walk the pathways and hike the trails. There is a car tour as well. Parking is inexpensive at the different entrances. I typically come several times a year, as it's a beautiful getaway right close to home.
Beautiful. Not too challenging to walk. Loved all the oak trees. Also appreciated that different parts were marked. There was poison ivy, but it was clearly marked. Got to see quite a few birds. However, if you want to see the cranes, I suggest going through the drive through side.
This is a beautiful and recently renovated wildlife and wetland refuge. There is a new visitors center, or part of it. The plans do include an interactive expansion for young students, when they take bus trips here. I hope to see that filled out in the next year or so. The old bridge to cross from the parking lot to the refuge was a steep up and steep down, with the grit strip tape to prevent slipping. It wasn't very effective at this. It's been over ten years since I last walked the refuge paths and about six years ago they replaced the old, steep bridge with a much nicer, concrete, gentle decline, as you curve around. There is seating at a lookout point, on the left, as you come upon the beginning of the bridges curve. There are thick, metal rods spaced so that no one can accidentally fall over either. They also added a secondary, smaller parking lot at the entrance, as well as a nice entrance gate which is closed between October and May, after the festival weekend concludes. My friend and I were here for Birdfest and Bluegrass days, the first weekend of October every year. They provided a guided geology tour, which gave us the chance to take in a beautiful view of the landscape from adjacent, private land. We walked the old oak strewn path to the north and took our time enjoying the views at regular intervals. There is one, giant oak tree on the left, right before the loop split. There are original Portland street pavers from a local quarry, an oak which is over four hundred years old, with branches so huge the weight has caused some to completely break off and others to split half off, growing along the ground at diameters larger than many full grown city trees. There are informative boards every so often as well. There is another path, to the south of the plank house, which loops down to a gravel path, closer to the water and around the other half of the refuge. One of these days I will get down there. They also have a drive-through tour of the refuge, which remains open during the colder months. That is a great sight to take in on cool, early mornings in the fall and warmer winter days, when the birds are more active. You do need a Discovery pass to park at the refuge, any day other than the festival weekend. The nature available at this one site alone, makes it worth having the pass. If you revel in the lush forests, calm lakes and mountain landscapes living in the PNW gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in, get a pass and feed your soul. I am thrilled to see they are continuing to expand the educational opportunities here. I am sad to here they are having to bring in more specialists to help them support a wider breadth of fauna as the loss of great expanses of fields and farms in the area has led to massive loss of habitat for our local wildlife. I hope people come here and learn how to be more supportive of the local wildlife in this area while living here. Tip: there is a large rock deposited by a glacier, about ten to fifteen feet in on the right, near the baby tree at the end of the walk ramp heading towards the plank house. Deposits like this are all over the topography around here. Learning about the Missoula floods during the geography tour was also fascinating and we appreciated the time and knowledge the volunteers shared with us. This park is a great place to take a breath, ease your soul, enjoy the birds and get away from city life just minutes from the Portland metro area. When you're done, check out the downtown Ridgefield scene. It's small but rich with warmth and charm.
One of the many beautiful stops along I-5 between Portland and Seattle. I've been here so many times I don't know where to start. Now that they have connected the trails, it's an exceptional walk from downtown Ridgefield all the way to this location. I have rented kayaks and gone up and down the Columbia River, hiked every inch, enjoyed unexpected wildlife and met a few locals.
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