Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) is part of a huge complex of protected wildlife areas which includes the Delevan Wildlife Refuge, the Colusa Wildlife Refuge, and the Sutter Wildlife Refuge, and by itself comprises over 10-thousand acres of  permanent ponds and seasonal marshlands.  It’s an annual stop-off point for a wide variety of waterfowl during the migratory seasons.  

Easy to Locate? Yes
Pet Friendly? Yes. Dogs MUST be on a leash or stay in your vehicle.
Easy to Walk? Yes. The major attraction here is the auto-tour route, but there is also a Wetlands Trail and other walkable areas.
Is there a Fee? Yes. You’ll need to get a pass at the kiosk by the main gate.
Are there Restrooms? Yes. there’s one at the nature center and one halfway through the auto-tour route.
Is there Accessible Parking? Yes.
Other Notes: When on the auto-tour route you MUST stay inside your vehicle (expect for in the park-and-stretch areas). Don’t block the road. If you want to stop to look at something, pull off to the side so others can pass you.

Bald Eagles often hunt in this refuge
between December and March
when other birds are migrating through the region.

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Here is an album of photos I took at the refuge on on day in May in 2019.

See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos taken at this location throughout the last several years.

The SNWR is open from one hour before dawn to one hour before dusk.  You pay a small fee to enter ($6 for a day pass, $12 for a year’s pass) at a kiosk by the front gate (that takes credit cards or cash).  Parking is adequate and there are accessible restrooms on the outside of the visitor’s center (so you can get to them even when the center is closed).  Dogs are allowed (on a 6-foot leash or in your vehicle).

The refuge includes several miles of walking trails and a self-guided driving tour that takes you around 6 miles of the marshes and pools.  aths are well-marked and well-maintained.  For the best bird-viewing opportunities, visit between October and February.  

The summer months provide opportunities to see dragonflies and damselflies, and courting and nest-building Grebes.

As you’re walking or driving through the complex, please obey the signs that mark “Closed” areas.

How to Get to the Refuge

The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is located at:
752 County Road 99W, Willows, CA 95988.

• Take I5 at the city of Williams, California north to the exit at Road 68. This is the off-ramp immediately after you see the sign indicating you’re entering Glenn County.
• As you come off the off ramp turn RIGHT onto Road 68
• At the first intersection, turn LEFT onto Highway 99 West. Stay on Highway 99 West for about 1-1/2 miles.
• You’ll see the signs on the RIGHT side of the road.
• Turn RIGHT into the entrance and pay at the kiosk.
• Past the kiosk is the parking lot, and access to the driving tour road.

For 24-hour Information call: (530) 934-7774

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist

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