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San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

Features Animals
Closed Now: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Open today: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Review Highlights
Beautiful reserve that keeps a bit of old California

I had always wanted to stop at this reserve on the way up the 5 freeway, and finally found the... read more

Reviewed 26 July 2018

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
Read all 51 reviews
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Traveller Overview
  • Excellent53%
  • Very good39%
  • Average7%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible0%
Travellers talk about
“auto tour”(7 reviews)
“tule elk”(14 reviews)
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...more
Closed Now
Hours Today: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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Suggested duration: 2-3 hours
7376 S. Wolfsen Road, Los Banos, CA 93635
+1 209-826-3508
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Reviews (51)
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All reviews auto tour tule elk visitor center is walking trails central valley bird watching bird life waterfowl coyote wetlands herd loop route ducks visitors population certified
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1 - 10 of 47 reviews
Reviewed 26 July 2018

I had always wanted to stop at this reserve on the way up the 5 freeway, and finally found the time. I was glad I did. The visitor center is lovely, LEED certified, with lots of exhibits, and in one place has several comfortable chairs...More

Date of experience: July 2018
2  Thank JaneT013
Reviewed 1 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

Date of experience: February 2018
4  Thank Matthew M
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.

Date of experience: March 2018
3  Thank Brian R
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

Date of experience: January 2018
3  Thank George_Sonora
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

Date of experience: January 2018
2  Thank CTBCalifornia
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.

Date of experience: January 2017
1  Thank Sheerie S
Reviewed 1 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

Date of experience: September 2017
1  Thank moses2
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

Date of experience: October 2017
2  Thank Hetty125
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

Date of experience: August 2017
1  Thank Hal72
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.

Date of experience: April 2017
Thank Serenitygardens
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Questions & Answers
Ask a question
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.
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
Carolyn Y
9 January 2017|
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