Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge is a birders paradise. With its easy access and close proximity to town, it's possible your kids have already filled you in on the natural wonders of this refuge after a school field trip. It's well worth a follow up visit to spend a little time there yourself or with the family.
What Makes It Great
Recognized as a vitally important location for migrating birds along the Pacific Flyway, there is something - or some creature - to see and watch for in every season. The reserve provides a resting and nesting spot for migratory ducks, Canada geese, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels and other birds of prey, yellow-headed blackbirds and sora rail. Its also home to mule deer, gophers, foxes, and coyotes.
In addition to the abundant wildlife, the reserve also hosts a diverse number of plant life from leafy, shade-giving riparian forests, to sparse, sage-covered highlands.
Encompassing Lake Lowell and the surrounding terra firma, a well maintained riparian forest provides some welcoming shade in the heat of summer as well as access to the Lake Lowell for an afternoon of swimming or fishing.
The 29.5-mile drive and pathway around the lake provides a number of access points and is a great loop ride. The distance, and the various access points, mean you can tailor the ride to suit your needs. You can ride the whole loop, do loop repeats, or simply ride a bit before stopping for a picnic with family or friends. There are multiple picnic spots along the way, all with access to the lake and check out the handy map on the Refuge’s website for tips on where to stop for birding opportunities.
The Refuge is also a fantastic spot to get in that long training run with a fairly flat trail that offers opportunities to push your pace.
Who is Going to Love It
The refuge is a wonderful place to get a shady ride or long training run in during the summer. With opportunities for swimming or fishing as well, bird lovers will definitely want to spend some time here!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Open dawn to dusk daily, year-round. Check the website for seasonal hours of the Visitors’ Center.