Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Oregon

(541) 493-2612

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

One of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge protects a vast complex of wetlands in southeastern Oregon's high desert. It is adjacent to the Steens Mountain Wilderness, with the Wild and Scenic Donner and Blitzen River flowing into the refuge at its southern boundary.

The refuge is famous for its tremendous diversity and spectacular concentrations of wildlife. Boasting over 320 bird species and 58 mammal species, Malheur is a mecca for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Spring is the most spectacular season at Malheur. More than 130 species of birds nest on the refuge, while other waterfowl using the Pacific Flyway stop at the refuge to refuel for their journey northward. In February, northern pintail and tundra swan begin to arrive, followed by large flocks of lesser and greater sandhill crane, and flocks of snow goose and Ross' goose.

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established on August 18, 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt as the Lake Malheur Bird Reservation. Roosevelt set aside unclaimed lands encompassed by Malheur, Mud and Harney Lakes "as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds." The newly established "Lake Malheur Bird Reservation" was the 19th of 51 wildlife refuges created by Roosevelt during his tenure as president. At the time, Malheur was the third refuge in Oregon and one of only six refuges west of the Mississippi.

Map of Malheur NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 43.261206, -118.847351

READ MORE

Activities

  • Bird Watching

    Boasting over 320 bird species and 58 mammal species, Malheur is a mecca for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Spring is the most spectacular season at Malheur. More than 130 species of birds nest on the refuge, while other waterfowl using the Pacific Flyway stop at the refuge to refuel for their journey northward. In February, northern pintail and tundra swan begin to arrive, followed by large flocks of lesser and greater sandhill crane, and flocks of snow goose and Ross' goose.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Motorized vehicles are permitted only on roads open to the public: Center Patrol Road, Field Station Road, Buena Vista Lane, Krumbo Lane, Five Mile Lane, and P Lane. All vehicles must be operated by licensed drivers and must be street legal. All other roads are closed to the public. ATV use is prohibited on the refuge.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted with restrictions.

  • Hiking

    Year round hiking is permitted only on roads open to motorized vehicles and the following trails. Two short paths -- one at Buena Vista and one at Headquarters -- lead to overlooks. Additional trails are the Barnes Springs Foot Path near Frenchglen, and the public fishing loop near P Ranch. Hiking is also permitted along the banks of Krumbo Reservoir.

    No other refuge lands are open to hiking.

    Be prepared as you may encounter wet areas, thorny vegetation, and rough ground.

    Please stay on designated trails.

  • Hunting

    The refuge offers both upland bird hunting and waterfowl hunting opportunities. Each of these hunts are in designated areas on the refuge

  • Wildlife Watching

    Use Your Car as a Blind: Your car is an excellent observation and photographic blind. Please stay in you car to avoid scaring wildlife - the next visitors will appreciate it. Move Slowly: Quick movements and loud noises will scare away most wildlife. Use Binoculars: Binoculars and spotting scopes allow you to get a closer look without leaving your car.

Directions

Driving

Take State Highway 78 two miles east of Burns, Oregon. Head south on State Highway 205 for 24 miles to the Narrows RV Park and cafe. Head east on Harney County Road 405 (Narrows to Princeton Road) for 6 miles. Turn left at top of hill into the headquarters area.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(541) 493-2612

Links