Fern Ridge Wildlife Area Visitors' Guide

The FRWA was created by a licensing agreement signed in 1957 and modified in 1982 and 2008, between the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Oregon Game Commission. This agreement authorized the state to develop, conserve, and manage all wildlife resources on 5,261 acres of land and water within the Fern Ridge Project. ODFW also acquired the 309 acre Coyote Creek South and 224 acre Coyote Creek Northeast units in 2013 and 2015, respectively.  The wildlife area now totals 5,794 acres.

A parking permit is required to park at this wildlife area. Find out how to buy a parking permit

Best time to visit: All year for bird viewing, seasonal access restrictions apply.

Visiting hours: 4am – 10pm.  Consult the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for specific wildlife area seasonal access restrictions.

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area Map (pdf)

What to see and do: Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is managed primarily for waterfowl wintering and nesting. More than 250 species of birds use the area during different seasons of the year, making this an excellent birding destination. Shorebirds, raptors and wintering waterfowl including ducks, geese and swans can be seen during late fall and winter. Lake and marsh habitats provide excellent viewing opportunities. Wintering waterfowl are best viewed on open water areas of the reservoir and in flooded cropland fields on the southeast portion of the area. Seasonal public access restrictions apply to protect wintering waterfowl. Maps and bird checklists are available at area headquarters and parking area information kiosks. There are boat and canoe access sites and nature trails to provide lake and wildlife area access during spring and summer months.

  • Coyote Creek Nature Trail: The trail winds its way through a stream side, or riparian area, which is bordered on one side by Coyote Creek, and on the other by various fields and marshes providing wildlife viewing opportunities. This area may have seasonal closures in effect to protect wintering waterfowl.
  • Hunting opportunities: A variety of hunting opportunities occur on the wildlife area during the fall and winter months including: pheasants, quail, dove, duck, snipe, goose, and big game. Season dates, legal hunting hours and related details are provided in the annual ODFW Game Bird Hunting Regulations and Big Game Hunting Regulations.
  • Common wildlife: bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, turkey vulture, osprey, great-horned owl, bear, bobcat, coyote, opossum, raccoon, mink, beaver, nutria, elk, black-tailed deer, Pacific tree frog, rough-skinned newt, northwestern salamander, long-toed salamander, bullfrog, western meadowlark, yellow-rumped warbler, song sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, red-winged blackbird, robin, starling, house sparrow, western bluebird, mourning dove, ring-necked pheasant, killdeer, California quail, wild turkey, common raven, least sandpiper, dunlin, greater yellow-legs, American white pelican, great egret, great blue heron, western grebe, pied-billed grebe, American coot, Wilson's snipe, marsh wren, mallard, pintail, green-winged teal, wigeon, bufflehead, northern shoveler, wood duck, common merganser, western Canada goose, dusky goose, cackling goose.
  • Facilities: camping, fishing, hunting, picnic area, small boats, trails
  • Nearby: Richardson Park and Campground is the closest public campground to the Eugene area. Camping, picnicking, swimming, a marina and boat ramp are available. Orchard Park, Kirk Park, Long Tom River, Kirk Pond, Zumwalt Park, also border Fern Ridge Reservoir and provide recreation opportunities.

Wildlife Area Maps (pdf)

Directions: Fern Ridge Wildlife Area surrounds Fern Ridge Reservoir and is located five miles west of Eugene on either side of Hwy. 126. Cantrell Road borders the area on the south. Access points are located around the perimeter of Fern Ridge Reservoir with parking areas, canoe access sites and parks providing lake and wildlife area access.

Address and Phone:
Fern Ridge Wildlife Area
26969 Cantrell Road
Eugene, OR 97402
(541) 935-2591

Other resources: