McKay Reservoir

Quick Facts

McKay Reservoir


(509) 546-8300

Map Directions

Things To Do


Nestled between the plains and the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon, McKay Creek Reservoir is overlapped by McKay Creek National Wildlife Refuge which offers habitat for rare and endangered species and is a haven for breeding and migratory birds. The lack of other local wetland habitats elevates the importance of this refuge as a home to a variety of wildlife and plant species in an arid environment. McKay Dam and reservoir are features of the Umatilla Project. This 1,200-acre reservoir is located 8 miles south of Pendleton.

Access difficulty varies by area. Contact the Mid-Columbia River NWR Complex Office for suggestions using the area safely (509-546-8300). Most areas of the refuge are very remote with no restroom or drinking water facilities. Refuge visitors should plan their trips accordingly.

Map of McKay Reservoir

Latitude, Longitude: 45.584639, -118.783285



  • Boating

    Boating is allowed as per state and U.S. Coast Guard regulations March 1 through September 30.

  • Bicycling

    Please contact park services for more information.

  • Fishing

    Fishing permitted Mar. 1 thorough Sept. 30. Species present include rainbow trout, crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sunfish, and yellow perch.

  • Horseback Riding

    Please contact park services for more information.

  • Hunting

    Upland bird hunting remains popular, with as many as 500 hunters each year pursuing pheasant and quail. Waterfowl and upland bird hunting are permitted October 1 through the end of state waterfowl hunting season in accordance with state and federal regulations. Access for hunting is from two parking lots off the Shaw Road on the east side of the refuge. The south end of the refuge is open to hunting; most of the refuge is closed to all access.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic sites are available.

  • RVing

    Although camping is prohibited on the refuge, there are a number of state parks in the area where camping is available including Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area and Ukiah-Dale Forest State Scenic Corridor.

  • Water Sports

    Enjoy fishing.

  • Wildlife Watching

    View the wildlife.


The wildlife refuge will be closed to all public entry during the winter season (end of state waterfowl season through the last day of February) to ensure protection and minimize the disturbance to wintering waterfowl and bald eagles.



From Pendleton, take Highway 395 south toward the town of Pilot Rock. The refuge entrance is approximately 8 miles from Pendleton.

Phone Numbers


(509) 546-8300