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San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

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Address: 7376 S. Wolfsen Road, Los Banos, CA 93635
Phone Number: 209/826-3508
Website
Today
08:00 - 16:00
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 08:00 - 16:00
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Description:

The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 26,800 acres of...

The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 26,800 acres of wetlands, riparian forests, native grasslands, and vernal pools. A thriving population of the endemic tule elk is showcased by one of three auto tour routes. The Refuge is host to significant assemblages of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, and plants; some of which, such as the California tiger salamander, the long-horned fairy shrimp, and San Joaquin kit fox, are endangered species.

The Refuge is a major wintering ground and migratory stopover point for large concentrations of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds. Large flocks of green-winged teal, northern shoveler, mallard, gadwall, wigeon, cinnamon teal, northern pintail, ring-necked duck, canvasback, ruddy duck, and snow, Ross’, and white-fronted geese swarm over the mosaic of seasonal and permanent wetlands that comprise a quarter of the Refuge. Waterfowl generally remain until late March before beginning their journey north to breeding areas. However, some mallard, gadwall, and cinnamon teal stay, breed, and raise young on the Refuge.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 34 reviews
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Fabulous visit

Beautiful refuge with platinum LEAD certified visitor center. They even allowed our dog inside, and the resident cat was friendly with her! Very interesting exhibits even though... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 31 August 2016
Nancy S
,
Ithaca, New York
via mobile
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34 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 31: English reviews
Salinas, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Interesting exhibits inside in the building, but dress for mosquitos if hiking or you will be eaten alive.

Helpful?
Thank FritzConle
Ithaca, New York
Level Contributor
37 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 August 2016 via mobile

Beautiful refuge with platinum LEAD certified visitor center. They even allowed our dog inside, and the resident cat was friendly with her! Very interesting exhibits even though visitor area of building was small. Lots of hiking and driving trails. Great place to spend a couple of hours.

Helpful?
Thank Nancy S
Los Banos, California
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2016 via mobile

Great for bird watching and photography! A wide variety of fowl including an occasional swan or pelican. There are all kinds of birds, lesser egrets, great blue herons and the larger white egrets. Summer can get very hot and lots of mosquitos so use repellent!

Helpful?
1 Thank sharoncatania2015
Santa Clara, California
Level Contributor
122 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 May 2016

Visited with 2 families and 2 small kids 2 days ago, - Great visitor center, no question. helpful rangers. On saturday, may 7, there was almost no one except us in visitor center. Very modern place, new washroom facilities, exhibition. Worth spending 30-45min there. - Most of the place is accessible through 2 one way road loops. One covers Elks... More 

Helpful?
4 Thank M S
Level Contributor
38 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2016

This is a fun place to visit with Elk, deer, Birds of all kinds and you can not beat the Fee. It is FREE. Everyone will enjoy this trip.

Helpful?
1 Thank Ferd B
Fresno, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 November 2015

Yesterday was my second visit to The San Luis Refuge. I loved the small but interesting visitor center. In November, I was hoping to see sandhill cranes in the waterfowl area, but didn't at midday. However, I saw some early in the morning at the nearby Merced wildlife refuge. When you drive around the Elk area, there are mostly f... More 

Helpful?
Thank newtraveler14
San Jose
Level Contributor
93 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 October 2015

I recommend both the Tule Elk and Waterfowl auto tour. Each is about 5 miles and it is important to take your time, it is not a speedway. Birds and critters will pop up and scamper or fly up from the reeds. The Visitor Center is first rate is Leed Platinum. If you want to photograph, bring the longest lens... More 

Helpful?
Thank bigbasin
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 September 2015 via mobile

I especially liked the creek area and the bird life I saw. It is a peaceful place. Nice to see tge tule elk herd.

Helpful?
Thank vividnature
Westlake, Ohio
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2015

We visited in July, when it was very dry, and there was not much to see but the elk. We saw a few but the area is quite extensive and we were far away. We enjoy this type of activity, so we were glad we went, but also felt it wasn't worth going out of your way to see if... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank travelingmomhhi
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 November 2014

The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge has an amazing visitor center that educates individuals on our wetlands. The drive is barely off Hwy. 165 and is a treasure of a spot. We visit the center as it has an educational area for children as well as adults...hands on. There is a small sitting area facing the Tule Elk area. You... More 

Helpful?
4 Thank Hank V

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  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?