Sometimes you just want to unplug and surround yourself with nature, and The McNary National Wildlife Refuge is a fantastic place to do just that. Not only will you have the company of thousands upon thousands (not an exaggeration!) of beautiful birds, but more often than not, you’ll feel as if you have this gorgeous wildlife preserve all to yourself. The spacious 15,000-acre protected area is the perfect place for an afternoon of birdwatching and hiking.
As a guest at our premier boutique hotel in Walla Walla, you’ll be just over a 40-minute drive to McNary National Wildlife Refuge. It’s the perfect day-trip destination for a scenic drive through the vineyard-covered valley. Be sure to fuel up with our complimentary breakfast before you hit the trails, served in our on-site restaurant, The Vine Fine-Dining, and we’ll get you caffeinated and ready to soak up the natural beauty of eastern Washington.
Plan ahead and book a spa treatment at our Country Spa at the Mansion upon your return. The best way to unwind and relax after a long hike. Retreat to one of our seven impeccable guest suites for a leisurely afternoon before heading back to The Vine for an outstanding and creative culinary display, along with one of the best wine lists on this side of the Cascade Mountains. Start planning your next adventure in the Walla Walla Valley and book your stay today!
Birdwatching at McNary National Wildlife Refuge and More
Under vast clear skies and surrounded by the Blue Mountains, head to McNary National Wildlife Refuge for the best birdwatching in Walla Walla. The McNary Wildlife Nature Loop is a 2.3-mile moderately trafficked trail that weaves its way by the east bank of the Columbia River. The wide accessible trail is partially paved and easily traversed for all hiking skill levels; you’ll cross a wooden bridge and find a bird blind for quiet viewing.
McNary National Wildlife Refuge is home to Canadain Geese, mallards, shorebirds, and wading birds. While waterfowl are the most prevalent species found here, there’s also a population of American White Pelicans, Black-billed Magpie, and Ospreys, as well as other birds of prey varieties. Overall, this habitat is diverse and has ideal conditions, from mudflats and backwater sloughs to river islands and wetlands that our nesting and flying feathered friends need to thrive.
For those searching for more hiking opportunities after visiting McNary National Wildlife Refuge, here are a few more places in Walla Walla for birdwatching:
- Pioneer Park: As Walla Walla’s oldest park, you’ll find walking trails, rose gardens, ponds, and a historic bandstand in the shade of old-growth trees. Be sure to check out the aviary, an educational exhibit about waterfowl and land-dwelling birds.
- Whitman Mission: The most popular activity at this national historic site is strolling along the Mission Ground Loop. The short hike takes you by the points of interest and up the hill to the monument for a beautiful valley view.
- Lewis and Clark Trail State Park: This 37-acre historical park is a great place for light hiking, boating, and fishing. The diverse mix of trees surrounding the Touchet River is an ideal habitat for many bird species.
- Bennington Lake: Located about 30 minutes from our Walla Walla bed and breakfast, this refreshing 50-acre lake is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike for water recreation.
- Badger Mountain: Head here for hikes with full 360-degree views of eastern Washington plains, rivers, and landmark mountains off in the distance. There are five designated trails here varying in length and difficulty.
The Perfect Lodging after a Day Birdwatching
While heading to McNary National Wildlife Refuge is a lovely way to view some wildlife in Walla Walla, as a guest at our boutique hotel, you won’t have to go far to take in stunning views of the Walla Walla River Valley, vineyards, and orchards. Our seven suites have beautiful sweeping vistas from large picture windows of French doors. You may even catch sight of our local critters that share the valley with us.
We can’t wait to host you at Cameo Heights Mansion, one of the most amazing places to stay in Walla Walla. Book today!