Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is located in southwestern Washington along the Columbia River. Ridgefield is the park I visit most often and not surprisingly the galleries here are some of my largest and most diverse. The refuge has two main units: the River S unit and the Carty unit. There is a third unit but the road has been closed (it is crumbling into the Columbia River). The River S unit contains the excellent auto tour, a one-way road where you stay in your car and can get excellent close-up shots of a variety of waterfowl and raptors. There is also a short hiking trail called the Kiwa Trail that closes during the winter as it goes through the hunting area. The trail at the Carty unit is open year round.
There is a $3 per vehicle entrance fee or you can get a yearly pass for $15. Owners of passes like the America the Beautiful pass can get in for free. Full details can be found at the official refuge web site. All of the entrance fees pay for services within the refuge. There is an automated gate at the entrance to each unit, the opening and closing times change during the year so make sure you check the times before you arrive.
|A wide variety of birds can be seen in the sloughs, fields, and forests. During the winter, a number of waterfowl and birds of prey call the refuge home.||Ridgefield remains the one and only place I've seen a swarm of bees.|
|Although the nutria is the most easily seen mammal, you may also see beavers, coyotes, deer, mink, moles, muskrats, otters, rabbits, raccoons, voles, or even the occasional sasquatch.||Frogs are the most easily spotted amphibians on the refuge, including bullfrogs, red-legged frogs, and Pacific treefrogs. The bullfrog is not native to Washington.|
|The most easily seen reptiles at the refuge are the western painted turtle and the common garter snake, including the beautiful red-spotted garter snake.||Scenery isn't really this park's strong suit, but you do get an occasional view of Mt. St. Helens.|