Mill Butte Trail (map)

The Mill Butte trail is a 4.5-mile loop trail can be accessed from the Refuge headquarters parking lot and is a wonderful family day hike. Mill Butte, at an elevation of 2619 ft., can be “summitted” via a 0.13-mile spur trail that is reached at approximately the mid point of the loop. Mill Butte offers a fantastic panoramic view of the Refuge and is well worth the short climb. The trail, which meanders along creeks and through beautiful old ponderosa pine forests, also offers a close-up view of how fire is being used on the Refuge to restore forest health.

The Mill Butte Trail was completed in 2010 with the help of the Friends group, Refuge staff and the Washington Trail Association. Signage will be added in 2011.

The trail needs to be used to keep it from becoming overgrown, so get your boots out!

McDowell Marsh Environmental Education Trail (map)

The McDowell Marsh Environmental Education Trail (McMEET) is a 1.2 mile hardened environmental education trail offering the hiker an opportunity to explore five distinct ecological habitats, ranging from riparian to semi-arid, which are managed specifically for native plants and wildlife. Features of the trail include:

  • Universal accessibility over 1/2 mile of trail;
  • Trailhead parking and directional signage;
  • Self-guided narrative brochures geared to multiple learning levels;
  • Hardened trail surface to minimize damage to sensitive soil and plants;
  • A 280 ft. elevated boardwalk, which allows hikers to bridge the marsh drainage outfall;
  • An observation blind where hikers can enjoy non-intrusive viewing of riparian wildlife; and
  • A naturalized congregation area with universal accessibility that allows a group of hikers/students to view all five ecological habitats through which they have passed while their instructor reviews lessons learned from each section of the trail.
McDowell Overlook, 2014

McDowell Overlook, 2014