The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the 5,010-acre Fern Ridge Wildlife Area primarily as a nesting and wintering sanctuary for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wetland species. The area under management surrounds Fern Ridge Reservoir and offers abundant opportunities for bird watching throughout the year in addition to hiking, canoeing, fishing and hunting opportunities.
The West Coyote Unit lies to the west of Coyote Creek, a popular canoeing destination in the summer, when Fern Ridge reservoir is full. After the reservoir is drawn down for the winter, the creek becomes impassable due to low water levels. Although online maps at the ODFW website show a trail along the eastern bank of Coyote Creek, it is now completely overgrown. The trail has been moved to the western bank. It winds through a mixed deciduous forest, only coming into view of the creek a couple of times. Watch out for ubiquitous poison oak on either side of the trail. The trail ends at a nice bench on the creek, which has a great view. You can return the way you came, or make a loop on an old, disused road that skirts fields of corn and other crops that are grown within the refuge for birds. There are also wide, mown trails among the crops for those in search of a longer walk.