Columbia National Wildlife Refuge
Columbia Refuge is a scenic mixture of rugged cliffs, canyons, lakes, and sagebrush grasslands. Formed by fire, ice, floods, and volcanic tempest, carved by periods of extreme violence of natural forces, the refuge lies in the middle of the Drumheller Channeled Scablands of central Washington. The area reveals a rich geologic history highlighted by periods of dramatic activity, each playing a major role in shaping the land. The northern half of the refuge, south of Potholes Reservoir, is a rugged jumble of cliffs, canyons, lakes, and remnants of lava flows. This part of the Scablands, known as the Drumheller Channels, is the most spectacularly eroded area of its size in the world and was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1986.
The favorable mixture of lakes and surrounding irrigated croplands, combined with generally mild winters and protection provided by the refuge, attracts larg numbers of migrating and wintering mallard ducks, Canada geese, and other waterfowl, including tundra swans.
Getting There . . .
From Othello, Washington, drive 5 miles northwest on McManamon Road, then turn north on Morgan Lake Road. This is the major north/south public road through the heart of the refuge. It starts paved and turns to gravel in approximately 1.5 miles.
This road will take you past McManamon Lake, Crab Creek, Frog Lake, and Upper Crab Creek trailheads and parking areas. Continuing north take the right spur road to Soda Lake Dam boat launch and the Pillar/Widgeon trailhead and parking area.
Leaving the spur road and continuing north to Soda Lake Campground entrance and finally out to O'Sullivan Dam Road. A map of the refuge is available at just about every parking area for further refuge exploration.