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Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington

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Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge

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  • Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Old barn off of Lake Road just outside the boundary of Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) in a farm adjacent to Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Ranch off of Grubb Road in the Camas Prairie.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge visitor parking area off of BZ Glenwood Highway.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Chicory (Cichorium intybus), Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Old-growth quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) off of Lake Road.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • View north from BZ Glenwood Highway, overlooking the ranch and Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • View south from Creps Lane, just outside of Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • The Willard Springs Loop Trail starting out at the park's headquarters.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Mount Adams (12,280') from Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum).- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Whitcomb-Cole Hewn Log Cabin, built in 1877, near the park's headquarters.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Praying mantis (Mantodea) along the Willard Springs Loop Trail.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Looking northeast from the Willard Springs Loop Trail viewing platform.- Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • - Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Abundant wildlife. Sandhill crane nesting area. Mount Adams views.
Cons: 
Only a portion of the refuge is accessible by trail.
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Region:
Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1964, provides critical wildlife habitat at the base of Mount Adams. The area is named for what was once Conboy Lake, and what is now a seasonal marsh. The lake was drained for irrigation to the grassland farms that occupy most of the area.

Even with the history of human impacts, the area is still rich in wildlife. Greater sandhill cranes nest throughout the refuge, with 20 mating pairs counted in the most recent study. The Oregon spotted frog, an endangered species, has a protected area to thrive here as well. Beyond the protected fauna that makes the refuge a notable place, countless other species of animals and birds, including seven amphibian, 10 reptile, 40 mammal, and 165 bird species, call the refuge home. The peripheral and distinct drainage areas within the refuge and Camas Prairie are also home to old-growth groves of quaking aspen, black cottonwood, ponderosa pines, and Douglas firs.

Conboy Lake NWR is accessible and also worth visiting year round, as each season brings different animals and a different feel. The Willard Springs Trail is a 2-mile loop through the more forested sections of the refuge, with views across the grasslands. Much of the rest of the refuge is hard to access, with roads intersecting in sections for car travel and parking areas to get out and explore a bit on foot.

The refuge is also notable for it's inclusion of the human history of the area into its boundaries. Conboy Lake was named for Peter Conboy, one of the many settlers that moved to the area in the 1870s to farm. A log house that sits near the refuge headquarters, now called the Whitcomb-Cole Hewn Log House, once stood 2 miles across the lake. In 1987, the house, which had fallen into disrepair, was moved into the refuge and was made accessible to visitors. 

As with many refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge system, Conboy Lake allows for in-season hunting and fishing for certain species of fish and waterfowl. In all seasons, the refuge is open for day use only.

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(11 within a 30 mile radius)

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