Colusa National Wildlife Refuge
Colusa National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.  It is located about 70 miles north of the metropolitan area of Sacramento and one mile southwest of the town of Colusa in Colusa County. The refuge consists of 5,077 acres consisting primarily of wetlands, with some grasslands and riparian habitats.
Colusa NWR was established in 1945 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife and to reduce damage of agricultural crops caused by waterfowl. 
The refuge lies in the Colusa Basin and is bisected by the Colusa Basin Drain, which drains the basin southeast to the Sacramento River. The low topography and presence of the Colusa Basin Drain makes refuge lands subject to regular winter flooding.
Thousands of waterfowl are present from September through March. Peak populations occur in December and January. Colusa NWR typically supports wintering populations of more than 200,000 ducks and over 75,000 geese. Many birds including nesting wood ducks and mammals can be seen year-round.
The habitats include seasonal marshes, permanent ponds, and uplands. The seasonally flooded, saline-alkali soils provide great habitat for the palmate-bracted bird's-beak, a federally listed threatened plant species. It is an annual herb in the snapdragon family and its petals are divided into two lips with the upper one shaped like a bird's-beak, leading to its name.
Enjoy wildlife viewing and photography as you drive the three-mile, graveled auto tour through wetlands. Visitors on the auto-tour are required to stay in their vehicle to prevent disturbance to the wildlife. Walk a one-mile trail along a lush riparian slough. Relax and enjoy the scenery on the viewing platform. The refuge is open one-hour before sunrise to one-hour after sunset year-round.
Waterfowl and pheasant hunting is permitted seasonally.


Learn More About Visitor Opportunities on the Complex:


Contact Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

752 County Road 99W
Willows, California  95988
Phone: 530-934-2801


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Colusa County, California

Office Locaters

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