Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge

West Virginia

(304) 375-2923

Map Directions

Things To Do


Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1990 to protect, conserve, and restore habitat for wildlife native to the river's floodplain. The refuge consists of twenty-one islands and three mainland tracts scattered along nearly 400 miles of the river in three states: West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. Although over 3200 acres of land and underwater habitats are held by the refuge, this represents only a small fraction of what was once the "wild" Ohio. Two-hundred species of birds use refuge lands and surrounding waters at some time during the year. Many are present only during migrations, stopping here to feed and rest. Eighty species are known to nest on the refuge, including prothonotary and cerulean warblers, wood ducks, and great blue herons.

Map of Ohio River Islands NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 39.400719, -81.435471



  • Boating

    Contact the park for more information.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    An auto tour route located on Middle Island offers signs interpreting the history and management of the island

  • Fishing

    Some of the best fishing in the Ohio River occurs around refuge islands. All refuge properties are open to fishing unless otherwise posted during regular refuge hours. Bank fishing access is now available at the refuge headquarter site near Williamstown. Two fishing dikes allow anglers to cast into the Ohio River from the shoreline. One of the dikes provide barrier free access.

    State regulations are in effect with additional refuge regulations prohibiting the use of trot lines.

  • Hiking

    Contact the park for more information.

  • Hunting

    Archery deer, waterfowl, dove, rabbit, and squirrel are the primary hunting opportunities on the refuge. A refuge hunting permit and appropriate State licenses are required. Permits and refuge-specific regulations are available at refuge headquarters.


Visitor Facility Hours:

December - March: Open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

April - November: Open Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Closed on federal holidays)



Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge headquarters are located at 3982 Waverly Road outside of Williamstown, WV. From I-77 take exit #185; follow WV-14 (Highland Ave.) 1.3 miles; turn right onto Waverly Road (E. 4th St.); continue 1.9 miles to site.

From Marietta, OH, cross Williamstown Bridge, take first left after DaVinci's Restaurant onto Waverly Road (E. 4th St.); continue 1.9 miles to site.

From Vienna, WV, take WV-14 N to Williamstown, turn right onto Highland Ave; take first left onto Waverly Road (E. 4th St.): continue 1.9 miles to site

Most refuge property is accessible only by boat, however, Middle Island adjacent to St. Marys, WV has bridge access from the mainland. From State Route 2 in St. Marys, turn onto George Street and continue two blocks to the island's bridge. Contact the refuge for information about locating other refuge properties.

Phone Numbers


(304) 375-2923