Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge


Day Hike - Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Explore the natural beauty and wildlife of the estuary of the only U.S. river that is undeveloped from source to mouth, with lunch in a forested picnic area with restrooms nearby.

  • Easy
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 4.0 mi
  • High Point Elevation: 10 ft
  • Pace: 2.0 mph

Meet at 10 AM at the entrance to the Visitors Center of the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, reached by taking Exit 114 from I-5, heading toward the water at the end of the exit, turning right at the T junction onto Brown Farm Road and continuing to its end at the visitor parking lot.  One  fourth of our hike group members must have with them on the hike a National Park Pass, or they most pay $3 for a day pass by putting the money in an envelope by the entrance to the Visitor Center, write their information on the envelope, keep the stub and place the envelope in the slot of a metal tube by the Visitor Center entrance.  No parking pass needs to be displayed in the cars.  

There are portapotties in the parking lot and at the lunch spot, but not elsewhere on the hike.

We will begin the hike on a boardwalk starting to the right of the Visitors Center and loop counter clockwise on it with two short detours to  the Nisqually River and continuing to the end of an elevated boardwalk across the estuary, with a view up and down Puget Sound at its end.  On the return on the elevated walkway, we will stop at the forested picnic area by the Twin Barns, left over from the former Brown Farm for our lunch at picnic tables with two portapotties nearby.  After lunch we will take a direct route back to the parking lot, allowing us to see another part of the estuary enroute. We should be  back to the cars before 2 PM. 


Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  • Navigation
  • Headlamp
  • Sun protection
  • First aid
  • Knife
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Extra clothes
Trip Reports