Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Find your nature escape at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, located less than 20 miles north of Vancouver WA. Whether you are an avid bird watcher, a Native American history enthusiast, or simply enjoy being outdoors, the more than 5,200 acres of marshes, lakes, and grassland offers a variety of activities.

Drive the scenic route on the River ‘S’ Unit Auto Tour—a one-way, 4.2-mile loop on graveled road that is open every day to vehicles during daylight hours. Find the audio track online or at the Visitor’s Station. Hikers can meander off on the Kiwa Seasonal Trail, or head across town to the Carty Unit where you can hike the two-mile Oaks to Wetlands Trail, open year-round. Once there, you can also visit the Cathlapotle Plankhouse and walk the brand-new seasonal Carty Lake Trail. A kayak and canoe water route borders the refuge for a relaxing wildlife paddle. Rent your choice of floating vessel and put in at Alder Creek Kayak's Ridgefield Kayak.

From May to October, take a pit stop at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse to find tangible links to the original stewards of the area—the Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia River. Educational and cultural events are held at the house throughout the year; open to the public on weekends from spring to fall. Other events at the refuge include the annual Birdfest & Bluegrass in early October and naturalist-led birding hikes. One-hundred and eighty species of birds—including Canada Geese, Sandhill Cranes, Great Blue Herons, swans, Turkey Vultures, shore and song birds, and a variety of waterfowl—all migrate through the wetlands, stopping to rest and feed. Throughout the year, get a glimpse of coyotes, bald eagles, Columbian white-tailed deer, weasels, turtles, and more.

For more information, visit the Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge website

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