We explored this gorgeous natural area last weekend, when all of the trails opened up. During the winter months some areas are closed to provide undisturbed rest for the vast flocks of birds that winter in the area, including tundra swans, but nearly the whole refuge is open to visitors starting April 1.
Highlights of our trip included a large number of bald eagles circling overhead and driving off a couple of osprey, and another beautiful bald eagle fishing nearby. The Refuge is easily accessible by car, with numerous trails to enjoy Oregon white oak savannas, prairies filled with native wildflowers, expansive wetlands, and ash forest.
The meandering Homer Campbell Boardwalk is a wonderful way to explore the wetlands, where you can watch for species like wood ducks under the shelter of the tree canopy. We were fortunate to spot a sharp-shinned hawk during our walk along it, which you can see in the last image above. Historic buildings dot the property and add to beauty and interest. There is also Visitor Center and Nature Store with lots of feeders outside attracting a wide-variety of cool birds.
We saw sparring rufous hummingbirds at one of the feeders and a beautiful acorn woodpecker up in the trees, for example. Thanks to my wonderful father-in-law Brent Schauer for the great pics! Fishing is allowed, but only at Snag Boat Bend, and be sure to follow Oregon state regulations.
Boating is allowed only on Snag Boat Bend's Lake Creek, though there is no on-refuge boat launch and boating is prohibited in the refuge itself. The Snag Boat Bent Unit can be located off of Peoria Road, 1 mile south of Peoria.
The following are not allowed (to avoid disturbing wildlife):
- Horses, dogs, or any other animal (excepted for certified service animals)
- Electric or gas-powered off-road vehicles unless needed for a disability
- Anything used to collect plants, animals or artifacts
- Collection of any kind is not allowed.
- Running and jogging are also discouraged.
- Finley National Wildlife Refuge is 10 miles south of Corvallis off of Highway 99W.
- You can also reach the Refuge via Bellfountain Rd. along the west of the Refuge.
- Be wary of Google Map directions coming from Eugene and other places to the south. Sometimes these directions want to take you to a locked interior road along Bruce Rd.
Learn more on their website: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/William_L_Finley.
For questions about recreation or more detailed directions, you can contact the refuge office at (541) 757-7236. Keep in mind that due to the government shutdown, no one may answer.