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“It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds,

deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines." - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Parent Category: Attractions
in North
Created: 08 September 2015
Address: 100 Brown Farm Road, Olympia, WA 98516
Phone: (360) 753-9467
Hours: from sunrise to sunset
GPS Coordinates: 47°5'31" N 122°43'33" W
Visitor’s Information:

Discover Pass Required

Pictures below will show you the beauty of this amazing refuge! Enjoy the spectacular views!

 Photo from Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Washington
General Information:

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1974, at the place where Nisqually River runs into Puget Sound, to protect the variety of fish species and wildlife living there as well as migrating birds. Now this unique place, where the Niqually River’s freshwater interflows with the Puget Sound saltwater, thus creating an estuary, which is considered to be the largest relatively inviolate estuary in Washington State, became the favorite place for wildlife watching.

It provides the visitors with the remarkable views of salt and freshwater marshes, mudlands and grasslands, as well as wonderful riparian woodland, where a great diversity of waterfowl, songbirds, raptors and shorebirds are nesting or resting during their migration. With a little bit of luck, patience and attention you’ll be also able to meet there beavers and otters, weasels and minks, a huge amount of frogs and some snakes.

Photo from Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

This place is spectacular at any season and with any tide level. Depending on what you are interested in you can choose at which season to visit the refuge. If you’ve never seen salmon jumping out from the water while moving up the river to spawn, come in early summer. If you are interested in watching the waterfowl, come in fall, when it’s really abundant. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge will have something to surprise you with even during the gloomy winter time.

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge offers its visitors a large variety of wildlife-dependant activities:

-    Wildlife viewing;
-    Various interpretative programs;
-    Environmental education;
-    Photography;
-    Hunting;
-    Fishing

But the administration of the refuge emphasizes, that Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is not a park, that’s why all kinds of pets are not allowed there, as well as camping and different kinds of usual park activities such as jogging, riding a bike, kite flying, etc. Though, there is a picnic area with some tables where you can enjoy your lunch.

Photo from Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Washington 

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge has quite many hiking trails, paved and gravel, with some observation decks and viewing platforms, offering the visitors striking scenery of the refuge.

But the most famous and fascinating one is Nisqually Estuary Trail. It’s actually a boardwalk trail, which starts near the Visitor Center and runs through the wetlands of the refuge. At the beginning of the trail there is an observation tower. There are also several viewing platforms and “push-outs” along it where the visitors can admire the serene views of marshes and wetlands, or enjoy wildlife watching. The trail ends with the Puget Sound Viewing Platform, with exquisite vistas of McAllister Creek, the Olympics, gorgeous Mount Rainier, admirable Puget Sound and some islands in it – a really worthwhile reward for the accomplished trip.

Photo from Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Washington 

Along all the trails there are numerous information signs, so that you can stop and read the information on the species you are spotting. There are also some rangers around the refuge, ready to help you answering your questions or giving you the directions. You can also get some brochures and a map of trails at the Visitor Center, which is open from Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 Photo from Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is opened for hikers from sunrise to sunset. Some trails are closed during the waterfowl hunting season (October-January).

The daily fee is three dollars per four persons (the entrance for kids under 16 is free).
While planning your trip to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge we highly recommend you to check the tide tables, as during the high tide much more birds are visible.

These pictures were taken in March-July, 2015

Driving Directions:

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is located between Olympia and Takoma. You should take Exit 114 from I-5 and then just follow the signs.

GPS Coordinates: 47°5'31" N 122°43'33" W

In order to get directions click on the map below:



Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska

Information: Svetlana Baranova

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