Southern Arizona Sights

Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

  • 12812 Wildlife Way Map It
  • Yuma
  • Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

Published 11/18/2015

Fodor's Review

A guided, volunteer-led tour is a good way to visit this wildlife refuge and birder's paradise. The peak seasons for bird-watching are spring and fall, when you can expect to see everything from pelicans and cormorants to Canada geese, snowy egrets, and some rarer species. Mid-October through May is the most pleasant time to visit, as it's cooler and the ever-present mosquitoes are least active.

Canoes can be rented at Martinez Lake Marina, 3½ miles southeast of the refuge headquarters. Kids especially enjoy the 1¼-mile Painted Desert Nature Trail, which winds through the different levels of the Sonoran Desert. From an observation tower at the visitor center, you can see the river as well as the fields where migrating birds like to feed. You can sign up for guided walks (including evening walks when the moon is full) from November through March (call ahead).

Sight Information


12812 Wildlife Way, Yuma, Arizona, 85365, USA

Map It



Sight Details:

  • Free
  • Visitor center: Nov.–Mar., weekdays 8–4:30, weekends 9–4:30; Apr.–Oct., only if volunteers are available (though the refuge is open)

Published 11/18/2015


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