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San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

Features Animals
7376 S. Wolfsen Road, Los Banos, CA 93635
+1 209-826-3508
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Review Highlights
Nice little museum. Reserve is boring as hell.

The small visitors center/museum is a nice thing to do for maybe a half an hour. The reserve itself... read more

Reviewed 2 May 2018
Matthew M
Outstanding!

We found this place while we were roaming around in Los Banos. The Visitor Center is fantastic... read more

Reviewed 3 April 2018
Brian R
,
Northridge, CA
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Overview
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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.
  • Excellent50%
  • Very good40%
  • Average8%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible0%
Travelers talk about
“auto tour” (7 reviews)
“tule elk” (14 reviews)
Open Now
Hours
Hours Today: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
LOCATION
7376 S. Wolfsen Road, Los Banos, CA 93635
CONTACT
+1 209-826-3508
Write a ReviewReviews (50)
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"auto tour"
in 7 reviews
"tule elk"
in 14 reviews
"visitor center is"
in 6 reviews
"central valley"
in 4 reviews
"walking trails"
in 4 reviews
"bird watching"
in 3 reviews
"bird life"
in 2 reviews
"waterfowl"
in 8 reviews
"coyote"
in 6 reviews
"herd"
in 3 reviews
"marsh"
in 4 reviews
"route"
in 5 reviews
"rabbits"
in 2 reviews
"visitors"
in 5 reviews
"loop"
in 3 reviews
"population"
in 2 reviews
"camera"
in 3 reviews
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1 - 10 of 46 reviews

Reviewed 2 May 2018

The small visitors center/museum is a nice thing to do for maybe a half an hour. The reserve itself is a incredibly boring hike and an even more boring auto-tour -- that means you drive in a big circle on a dirt road for an...More

2  Thank Matthew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 April 2018

We found this place while we were roaming around in Los Banos. The Visitor Center is fantastic! The driving tours are great! We saw lots of waterfowl. We also saw the Tule Elk. A destination that is well worth the time and effort.

1  Thank Brian R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 25 January 2018

We've been here twice. Our January visit wasn't as good as the cranes and geese hadn't arrived. Still, happy ducks and other critters. Area has good interpretive signs and a nice couple of hiking routes around one of the marshes. A spring visit before everyone...More

1  Thank George_Sonora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 4 January 2018

Big YES to visit here during winter months when there is ground water and bird life to admire. The Visitor Center is top notch, obviously very well funded, excellent exhibits and hands on learning for kids and adults alike. Several walking trails at different locations...More

1  Thank CTBCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 9 December 2017

Nice trail system out into the refuge. Good migratory bird populations. Information center and gift shop are first class. Easy access from freeway and Los Baños.

Thank Sheerie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 December 2017

Close to the bay area gives everyone a chance to see the Central Valley as it was in the time of the Indians. Wildlife abounds, elk, deer, small mammals, all kinds of birds as it is located in the Pacific Fly, visitor center

Thank moses2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 30 October 2017

We arrived early and were the only people there. The visitor centre was open, but no one was around (except a really cute but very vocal cat). We had a quick look at the exhibits and then set off for the elk auto tour. Sadly,...More

1  Thank Hetty125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 16 August 2017

We were here in August when there was not a whole lot of water. As such, not many birds. Still, there are some interesting ones to see and we got some good pictures. Also saw some nice blacktail deer and tule elk. We did the...More

Thank Hal72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 July 2017

When the birds are migrating this is a wonderful place to visit and observe them. The observation deck is perfectly situated for taking photos.

Thank Serenitygardens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 23 May 2017 via mobile

We have stayed at the trailer/rv campgrounds as well as the tent camping area. Very clean park grounds, I will point out the the restrooms are out house style and not very clean. Lots of people fishing and campgrounds are big enough that you are...More

1  Thank Blanca D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
richnfran2018
5 January 2018|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from SeanBrophy | Property representative |
Yes, Visitor Center is open from 8AM to 4:30PM every day, excepting federal holidays.
0
Votes
bettyba
16 March 2017|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from SeanBrophy | Property representative |
June Seasonal Highlights: Tule elk antlers fully grown with velvet falling off Shorebirds migrate north Seasonal wetlands are dry Songbird and raptor fledglings are visible With a very wet spring and continued high water... More
0
Votes
Carolyn Y
9 January 2017|
Answer
Response from SeanBrophy | Property representative |
Hello Carolyn, yes water supply has been improved this year. The San Luis NWR receives CVPIA water supplies for its units. December through late February is usually the peak waterfowl use period. Areas such as the Souza... More
0
Votes