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“An amazing experience!”

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Ranked #2 of 56 things to do in Olympia
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Located on the Nisqually River Delta in Southern Puget Sound, this refuge consists of three thousand acres of salt and freshwater marshes, grasslands and mixed forest habitats that provide a resting and nesting area for a wide variety of migratory birds.
Olympia, Washington
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“An amazing experience!”
Reviewed 29 July 2013

This is a lovely expereience. If you are up for it, walk to the end of the boardwalk. It is a total of 4 miles round trip. You can see all sorts of birds and beautiful sights along the way. Suggestion would be to go first thing in the morning. You can also do a shorten version which might be the thing for younger children. Just walking to the barn area you can see the lush greenery along with ducks and other birds and hear bullfrogs!

Visited July 2013
Thank DianeW98501
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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431 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Olympia, Washington
Level Contributor
349 reviews
70 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
“Pretty amazing”
Reviewed 29 July 2013

The refuge is a grand experiment at estuary restoration. And it is definitely working.

Several years ago, a series of dikes that had partitioned off large portions of the reserve from tidal effects, were torn down. This allowed the tides to reclaim the land. The changes in structure and flora are a wonder to behold. The counts of fish fry and other marine organisms in the area has skyrocketed.

The experiment is an unqualified success.

There is a 2 mile long boardwalk trail over the new mud flats and through the woods. Eagles, owls, and waterfowl are everywhere. A sheer delight.

It is just 1/2 mile off Interstate 5. Stop in for an hour as you drive by.

Visited July 2013
Thank CommanderChip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
136 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“An oasis of nature surrounding a busy section on I-5”
Reviewed 25 July 2013

We spent an enjoyable afternoon taking the 4 mile roundtrip walk out over the tideflats. The tide had been out for awhile so we didn't see as many birds in action as we might have otherwise, but it was still a lovely, flat walk. Mt. Rainier was in full view the further out we were and the weather was perfect. There is no overhead cover or shade on most of the walk so the cool breeze off Puget Sound was appreciated. (There are a few covered bench areas, but no water or restroom facilities except at the visitor's center.) We saw a Great Northern Blue Heron, a young bald eagle, lots of song birds and several families of Canadian Geese. The adult geese were hissing and snapping at us because the gooslings were eating on the hillside adjacent to the path! It was exciting to see how quickly the removal of the dike has transformed the delta area that is now tideflats--the landscape is a bit eery where the trees have died. On the way out to the boardwalk, there is a wide, level, gravel-covered path that is raised on a berm between the new tideflats and the area that is still diked, which is marshy, swampy and full of songbirds and waterfowl.
Note that there is a $3 fee per car, payable at a self-serve station. There are restrooms, a small gift shop and an indoor exhibit area in the visitor center, which has somewhat limited hours. Nice binoculars are available on loan (leave ID with desk) at the visiter center too. Finally, Nisqually Wildlife refuge appears to be accessible for those in wheelchairs or strollers.

Visited July 2013
Thank barnhok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon, United States
Level Contributor
77 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“amazing view and relaxing walk”
Reviewed 18 June 2013

We enjoyed a beautiful walk along the wetlands and saw quite a few birds along the way. We were able to walk the fairly long boardwalk out over the wetlands and back again within a couple hours. Easy stroll, beautiful scenery, very close to the freeway. Be sure to bring your camera!

Visited June 2013
Thank Beth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Everett, WA
Level Contributor
272 reviews
118 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 146 helpful votes
“Nice but Dissappointing”
Reviewed 16 June 2013

We decided to make the hour+ long drive to see the area and take pictures of the abundant wildlife we've heard so much of. The boardwalk is nice to walk on and the old barns were cool. Other than a couple Robins and a few Swallows, there was NO wildlife to be seen. Very disappointing.

Visited June 2013
Thank Kat S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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