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San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, Los Banos

Categories: Wildlife Areas, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.2/5 based on 30+ reviews on the web
The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge in the San Joaquin Valley of central California is one of the great remnants of a historically bountiful wintering grounds for migratory waterfowl on the Pacific Flyway. Located in the Bear Creek, Salt Slough, and San Joaquin River floodplain, it hosts a myriad of tree-lined channels and oxbows, wetlands and native grasslands.Thousands of acres of wetlands, fed by an intricate set of canals, are managed to produce natural food supplies for migratory waterfowl. San Luis also contains the most extensive network of pristine native grasslands, shrubs, and vernal pools that still remain within the Central Valley.Thousands upon thousands of mallard, pintail, green-winged teal, and ring-necked ducks flock into the managed wetlands; while the wood duck lives throughout the tree-lined slough channels.Herons and egrets nest in majestic oaks and willows, then feed on the refuge's abundant frog and crayfish populations. A wide diversity of songbirds, hawks, and owls also use refuge habitat.
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  • Geese in many places, but September has dried up wetlands water couldn't hardly see bio. Unfortunately. From Merced and about 30 minutes by car. Leave the car park you can see.
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  • 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 buildi...  read more »
  • 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. Sum...  read more »
  • This is a great reserve! Thousands of birds, an amazing elk sanctuary, nice driving and walking trails. This is a great place to take the whole family to learn about the wildlife that is native to the area.
  • First time fishing in year's. Took my wife and kid's. Caught our first fish. It was truly fun after the first fish. Gave us a new belief. We will go back to San Luis National Wildlife again. Thanks!
  • Would be a nice place.... but the "Blue Goose police" are ticket happy! Beware all there signs will set you up for a federal ticket even when you follow sign rules. I've received a ticket for following auto tour but seemed shady the "federal officer" was in a early to mid '90s ford f150. After sitting in truck with sun beaming in windshield at 107° for 45 min I was asked for social security number(I think they're smoking crack out there). The ticket said I was to either mail $375 to Philadelphia or go to court in Texas then I received ticket in mail for court in f-ing fresno at 7am! Long story short I actually work so couldn't make it so they issued a federal warrant. So I'll be paying this fine in federal currency (hope they like counting federal currency in penny form)!
  • Love this area. Quiet and relaxing, can be windy at times.
  • Although it seems a little out of the way, I highly recommend starting a visit to the refuge at the visitor center. It's a great exhibit hall that explains the history and natural history of the wildlife complex. There's a boardwalk right there at the center, and I managed to get a few good pictures even in the time of year when most of the birds are not here. There are also auto tour roads as well. The best time to visit would probably be in the Fall and Winter seasons.
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