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Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Portland Metro Area, Washington

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Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

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  • Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Great blue heron (Ardea herodias).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Carty Unit.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Red-spotted garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Bald eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Lancaster Lake in the Carty Unit.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Osprey (Pandion haliaetus).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Carty Unit.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Nutria (Myocastor coypus).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge River S Unit.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge River S Unit.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Nutria (Myocastor coypus).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • An albino nutria (Myocastor coypus).- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • A birder looks out over the Carty Unit.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • A great blue heron (Ardea herodias) and great egrets (Ardea alba) congregate in the Carty Unit.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Great egrets (Ardea alba) fly over Lancaster Lake.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Great egret fles over Lancaster Lake.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • View west from Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge's River S Unit.- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Amazing variety of wildlife. Very close to Portland.
Cons: 
Kiwa Trail is only open in summer (05.01 through 09.30).
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Region:
Portland Metro Area, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Bird watchers rejoice!  The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is absolutely the best location in the region for viewing wildlife, and it is often overlooked in spite of its proximity to Portland.  At 5,218 acres, the refuge sits along the eastern bank of the Columbia River just north of Vancouver, Washington.  The refuge is a protected area of sloughs, lakes, wetlands, grasslands and forests that comprise the Columbia River flood plain. It is an optimal environment for migrating birds, waterfowl and critters of all sizes.

The refuge is broken up into five different units, two of which are open to the public: the River ‘S’ and the Carty Unit.  Head south of Ridgefield for the River ‘S’ Unit, where you can walk along the 1.5 mile Kiwa Trail (open May 1st through September 30th) or drive the the Auto Tour Route. You will see a dazzling collection of wildlife, including the semi-endangered western painted turtle, numerous red-winged blackbirds, Canada geese, great horned owls and bald eagles.

From Ridgefield, head north to make your way to the Carty Unit, a collection of trails that meander through Douglas fir, Oregon white oak, and wild hazelnut trees around serene Lancaster Lake.  From the beginning of the 2-mile loop, stop off at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, a full-scale cedar replica of the “Cathlapotle nation” vernacular architecture.  The Cathlapotle Town Site was a home for native peoples for thousands of years.  Lewis and Clark first observed the village of Cathlapotle on their way to the Pacific in 1805.

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

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(96 within a 30 mile radius)

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