Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

A wildlife refuge consisting of scabland lakes, open grasslands and basalt formations. It is located in eastern Washington just South of I-90 between Moses Lakes and Othello. It is a beautiful place to wander and explore in the Spring with plenty of wildflowers, abundant wildlife and the very popular Sandhill Crane Festival in March each year.

Getting There

From Moses Lake, drive south on SR-17 2 miles and turn right (south) onto Road M SE. Drive 6.4 miles, then turn right onto SR-262. In 2.3 miles, at the Columbia NWR sign post and directly across from the large boat launch on the Potholes Reservoir, turn left (south) onto Soda Lake Road. Drive 2.2 miles, then turn right at the junction onto Upper Goose Lake Access Road, bear left in 0.2 miles, and then turn left in 0.5 mile onto S Morgan Lake Road. The Frog Lake Trailhead is on the right (west) side in 1.0 mile, 15 total miles from Moses Lake. There is space for a dozen vehicles. There are no facilities. The Frog Lake Trail is the most popular trail, but there are other trailheads from where the refuge mat be explored.


While no camping is allowed in the national wildlife area, there are adjacent state wildlife areas in the Seep Lakes Wildlife Area Unit to the east and west where dispersed camping is allowed among the lakes in the refuges. A discover pass in required to park here.

About the Refuge

A shrub/steppe desert landscape of small lake and basalt formations. Its abundant wildlife include Mule deer, beaver, porcupine, and coyotes. It is famous for the spring stop-over of Sandhill Cranes in late March. Winters are cold and snowy and summers are hot and dry, and the area is crisscrossed by good dirt and gravel roads. One of the most popular trails at the is the Frog Lake Trail, a 3.0 mile round trip hike with great views of basalt cliffs, wetlands, and wildlife viewing opportunities. There are few other official trails and lots of beautiful country to wander and find you own paths.

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