Ouray National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Ouray National Wildlife Refuge

Utah

(435) 545-2522

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Ouray National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located in the desert of northeastern Utah and receives less than 7 inches of precipitation annually. The Green River brings water down from the mountains of Wyoming and through the Refuge, attracting thousands of waterfowl and other birds. The Refuge includes 16 miles of the Green River, totaling 11,987 acres. Three thousand, eight-hundred acres of the Refuge is leased from the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation and the State of Utah. The Refuge includes approximately 19 square miles of bottomlands and river surface in six naturally occurring bottoms along the shallow Green River. The Refuge is considered by some as the most significant stand of riparian cottonwoods on the entire Green River and perhaps the entire Colorado River Drainage. Bluffs border the river valley and semi-desert shrubland and grasslands make up the rest of the Refuge. The Refuge provides food and nesting cover for 14 species of ducks and Canada geese as well as a resting area and food for many additional species of migrating waterbirds. Approximately 200 species of birds use Ouray NWR, along with a variety of mammals and fish such as elk, mule deer, river otters, prairie dogs. Eight imperiled species including whooping cranes and several endangered fish such as the bonytail and humpback chubs, and razorback suckers also live on the Refuge. The Uinta Basin hookless cactus is a federally threatened species that inhabits the Refuge habitat.

Map of Ouray NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 40.230791, -109.797363

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Activities

  • Boating

    Canoeing and rafting are permitted only on the river.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    A 12-mile self-guided auto tour route winds through a variety of Refuge habitats, providing excellent wildlife viewing. Visitors traveling this route will have opportunities to see ducks, geese, cranes, herons, and a variety of shorebirds in the Refuge wetland areas. The road meets and follows the river where Lewis woodpeckers, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, songbirds, and porcupine can be seen in the cottonwood and willow trees. As the tour route travels up the clay bluffs onto the grasslands, white-tailed prairie dogs and pronghorns can be seen on both sides of the road along with western meadowlarks, sage sparrows, and black-tailed and white-tailed jackrabbits.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is allowed along the river only. Anglers can cast for channel catfish, one of the most popular fish in the Green River. Federally-protected endangered fish also live in the river and must be carefully released if caught. Utah regulations apply to anglers.

  • Hiking

    Hiking is available.

  • Hunting

    Waterfowl, mule deer, and ring-necked pheasant hunting are permitted at the Refuge during appropriate hunting seasons. Leota Bottom provides hunting opportunities for all three species, and Wyasket and Johnson Bottoms are open for pheasant and deer hunting. A separate leaflet describing Refuge hunting regulations is available at the Refuge Headquarters. Hunters must also follow Utah hunting regulations.

Directions

Driving

To reach Ouray NWR, take U.S. Highway 40, 14 miles west of the city of Vernal, Utah. Turn south on State Highway 88 and travel 14 miles to the Refuge entrance. The Refuge office is located 1 mile down the entrance road.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(435) 545-2522

Links