Did you know that Ridgefield, Washington holds a magical oasis of wildlife, wetlands, and forests just waiting for you to explore? Ridgefield Refuge is one of my favorite places to hike, and it’s just minutes away from Portland, Oregon. There’s even an auto tour route if you want to see the wildlife without getting out of your car. I loved taking the route in my convertible this last summer. You will see many birds from your car, and if you keep your eyes open, you are also likely to see otters, turtles, and nutrias.
The auto route is only open from April-October so that the wintering waterfowl aren’t disturbed.
Ridgefield Refuge: The Kiwa Trail Loop
The Kiwa trail is also closed from April-October, as it’s located off of the auto route. The Kiwa Trail Loop is only 1 1/2 miles, and is definitely worth getting out of your car for.
You will see a lot more wildlife if you get out of your car and do the loop, as most of the wildlife don’t exactly hang out near the road to watch your car go by. I saw a deer and a heron by walking the Kiwa trail.
The trail is an easy one, and is even wheelchair accessible. There is a unique mix of habitats here. Everything from woodlands, wet and dry meadows, sloughs, marshes, and open water are all found on this trial, so if love seeing waterfowl, this is your type of place. Geese, ducks, turtles, marsh wrens, blackbirds, and warblers are just some of the wildlife you are likely to experience.
This part of the trail is located at 1071 S Hilhurst Rd, Ridgefield WA 98642.
Ridgefield Refuge: Oak To Wetlands Trail
The Oak to Wetlands Trail is a great trail to take if you are looking for wildlife in the winter, or looking for a place that’s still good to hike on a cloudy day. It’s also spectacular in April, as you will see many wildflowers. The trail is open all year. It’s just over 2 miles, so it’s an easy hike.
A Native American plankhouse sits at the start of the trail after you cross the Ridgefield Railroad bridge. The towering white oaks will delight you. You will find yourself among tangles of blackberries, during blackberry season, and you’re likely to see eagles and hawks soaring through the sky.
I went on Easter weekend, so I got lucky and got to see the Easter bunny. I also saw lots of garden snakes that were enjoying the sun. And, I do mean lots. Maybe around 50 or 60 of them. At least they weren’t dangerous! You also might see beaver and coyote on this trail.
Before starting your hike, be sure to pay your $3 entrance fee or display your Interagency or Golden Age pass.