Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge Things to Do
The only trail on the refuge is a two mile loop trail that starts at the refuge headquarters and heads north through the edge of the forest along one of the small waterways on the refuge. About 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the refuge headquarters there is a small spring named Willard Springs. It isn't too much to look at in the end days of summer, when...more
It appears that the changes to the Willard Springs Trail for 2014 are to be the final trail modifications for a while.For those who are used to how things used to be here: it is no longer necessary to walk on the road for part of the loop. Instead, a new trail has been constructed directly linking the refuge headquarters with the far end of the...more
In early June of 2012 (approximately), a small portion of the refuge headquarters building was dedicated to serve as a small refuge visitor's center. Inside, volunteers staff the facility and offer advice to travelers to those that arrive here. This room is open when volunteers are available to staff it, and therefore it is only open irregularly....more
On the eastern side of the refuge, along the west side of BZ Corner Glenwood Road, there is a gravel parking area. This area is the primary parking spot for hunting and fishing, which are allowed during certain seasons on the refuge.However, other than the parking area and a refuge information kiosk, there really isn't much of anything here. There...more
While there is only one two mile trail in the entire refuge that is walkable by the public, there are several roads which pass through various other parts of the refuge, which allow for public viewing of these areas from your car or from the road.Please be careful when you do visit these areas. Most of these roads are shared with working farmland...more
Heading downhill from the parking lot on a gravel road that is off-limits to public vehicles, but on which it is allowed to walk, you will find that a new trail has been declared along the edge of a small canal. This trail was opened in October of 2011.This small addition to the trails available at Conboy Lake allows those exploring the wildlife...more
Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge Transportation
Getting Here: Car Required and Ignore...
This refuge is remarkable not near much of any major city. However, there are several paved roads that go nearby, and in fact one of those roads goes past the refuge headquarters.
Please note that any of these routes may be closed by wild fires in the summer months and snow and/or floods in the winter months. None of these roads, even the numbered highways near the refuge, are considered vital routes, and in fact highway 141 simply ends 10 miles west of the refuge at Trout Lake. You can get from there to Highway 131 and then US 12 near Morton, but it requires good familiarity with all the Forest Service roads that link the two highways. So, really, it is best to find someone with good local knowledge of the current conditions on the various roads before going into this area if there is any sort of unusual or potentially dangerous condition.
If you are using a GPS or Google Maps to get directions from Portland, unfortunately those directions will probably lead you in the wrong direction. They will get you here, but typically the method involved from there involves taking highway 141 north from White Salmon to BZ Corner, then taking BZ Corner - Glenwood Road northwest to the refuge. This is a fairly slow, windy road. Once you arrive at the refuge you must then spend four miles (6 km) on rough gravel roads to go north to Trout Lake - Glenwood Road, then go northwest to the refuge headquarters.
It is a longer distance, but you will actually get there faster from the south if you take highway 141 all the way to the Trout Lake area, and then take Trout Lake to Glenwood Road. This route can be made shorter by using several paved shortcut roads between the Trout Lake to Glenwood Road and highway 141, but it is actually easier to retrace your steps coming back south. When you come down the long steep hill before getting into Trout Lake, take what looks like a main road to the south. Eventually this turns to the west - the main through route on the various local roads is somewhat obvious going this direction as it is a series of roads that are wider than those surrounding them. There is a sign as you approach Trout Lake that points you to the refuge on Trout Lake - Glenwood road, so this is your easiest way to get here for your first visit.
From elsewhere in the Columbia River Gorge you should start at White Salmon or Bingen and follow the instructions above.
From Hood River or the Oregon side of the river, cross at the Hood River bridge, turn left onto highway 14, then take "Alternate 141" on the right. After several miles, turn left onto the real highway 141 going to Trout Lake. Then, follow the above instructions from Portland.
From the Seattle area, there are not many good options. The best route for those not familiar with the area around Goldendale is probably to take Interstate 90 to US 97 to Goldendale, then highway 142 going west. If the weather is decent, you should then be able to take Goldendale Road northwest to Glenwood. From Glenwood go west towards Trout Lake, and within 1 mile (1.6km) you will see the entrance to the refuge.
Check the refuge web site and call to find out about local road problems, as sometimes such things are posted on the web site.Related to:
- Road Trip
Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge Warnings and Dangers
Much of the area around Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge is classified as "open range land". This means cows may be allowed to wander any where they please, except if they are specifically fenced out of the area.Thus, don't be surprised to see cows in the road.This is not an area through which you should be driving fast - especially at night!As...more
Hunting is allowed at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The exact season varies with the state of Washington hunting season. Hunters must comply with state and federal regulations. Hunting for deer, geese, ducks, coots, and common snipe are allowed and all other species is off-limits. The refuge is open to archery, muzzle loader and rifle deer...more
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Explore Deeper into Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
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- Things to Do