The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is a natural preserve designated for the protection and breeding of native birds. This refuge encompasses more than 187,000 acres that is home to over 320 bird species.
The bird watching at the Malheur Wildlife Observatory is truly spectacular. Viewers here will spot a wide range of species including:
- Greater Sandhill Crane
- American White Pelican
- White-faced Ibis
- Willow Flycatcher
- Cattle Egret
- Black-crowned Night Heron
- Long-billed Curlew
- Short-eared Owl
- Greater Sage-Grouse
- Snowy Plover
- Franklin’s Gull
- Trumpeter Swan
- Brewer’s Sparrow
Spring migration sees hundreds of thousands of bird descending upon the refuge and its accommodating wetlands. Songbirds enjoy taking a rest here in their annual migrations as well. You can spot them heading north in May and June, and moving south again by August and September.
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is even bustling in the cold winter months. Raptors such as northern harriers, prairie flacons, kestrels, hawks and majestic bald eagles can stay here year-round.
Though the birds get a great deal of attention at Malheur, there are 58 species of mammals that call this area home as well. Mammals that you may spot in the refuge include shrews, hares, rabbits, pikas, chipmunk, squirrels, gophers, beavers, coyotes, foxes, black bears, grizzly bears, raccoon, weasels, mink, badgers, river otter, mountain lions, bobcats, lynx, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, bison and mountain sheep.
You can view the refuge in a variety of ways. Visitors can travel on designated roads by car and use their vehicle as a blind. Equipped with a good set of binoculars you can often find some excellent sights this way. Hiking is permitted on designated trails as is biking and horseback riding. During the fishing season, you may travel by boat on the Krumbo Reservoir.
Camping is not allowed within the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. However, there are many surrounding sites that can accommodate campers. The Page Springs Campground has 36 sites for tent and RV camping. Drinking water, restrooms, and picnic sites are available. A dump station is located about half a mile away. This campsite also offers ample opportunities for fishing, hiking, and biking in the surrounding area.
The Narrows RV Park offers 41 RV spaces with patios, fire pits and BBQ stands. Free wi-Fi, laundry facilities, restrooms and showers are all located on site. This park also has a restaurant, saloon, convenience store, and gift shop so everything you could need is right on hand. Yurt and tent sites are available as well.
If you have some extra time in the area, you’ll find several hot springs that are well worth a visit. The Alvord Hot Springs are open year round for a warm, refreshing soak. Crystal Crane Hot Springs offer a peaceful afternoon activity as well. If you just can’t drag yourself away from this restorative mineral-rich water, you’ll find accommodations available at Crystal Crane Hot Springs as well.
Crystal Crane Hot Springs has sites for tent camping and RV camping as well as five cabins. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the bathhouse which features private hot tubs fed from the natural hot springs.
Other activities available in the area include deer, elk, goose, antelope, and sage rat hunting, hiking, biking and backpacking. The rivers around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are especially well-suited for trout fishing.