This half-mile-deep river gorge is in a wilderness of high mountains, high plateaus, and rugged lava flows. The drive begins at the canyon’s lower end, passes through the town of Jarbidge, and climbs to the wilderness boundary where a trail leads to Jarbidge Lake.
Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
|Description: Vast expanses of big and low sagebrush are broken by outcrops of rimrock and steep gorges-rugged country where golden eagles, prairie falcons, and American kestrels hunt. Scattered springs, lakes, and creeks draw eighty percent of refuge wildlife, including frogs and toads. Canada geese, mallards, gadwalls, and other ducks share Dufurrena Ponds, Catnip Reservoir, and Big Spring with killdeer and Wilson’s phalaropes. Sage grouse, California quail, and chukars are common; look for grouse and their chicks in wet meadows during spring and summer. Hundreds of pronghorn winter at Big Springs and Gooch Tables, then pass spring and summer at Swan Lake. Mule deer winter on the eastern refuge, and by summer have moved up to higher elevations. Hikers may spot bighorn sheep on the remote ridges of Hell Creek and McGee Mountain. Reptiles inhabit the rocky terrain at Virgin Valley, Jackass Flat, and Bog Hot, named for its Hot Springs. Coyotes, jackrabbits, and ground squirrels are common.|
Wildlife to Watch: Waterfowl viewing excellent in spring and fall, when water present. Songbirds and birds of prey are plentiful, spring through fall. Excellent viewing of upland game, small mammals, pronghorn, mule deer, and bighorn sheep spring through fall. Watch near water, also along CR 16 and CR11. More than 175 bird species.
Special Tips: REMOTE AREA. CARRY FOOD, WATER, and FUEL. HIGH CLEARANCE VEHICLE RECOMMENDED. ROADS SOMETIMES IMPASSABLE FALL THROUGH SPRING. CALL FOR ROAD CONDITIONS.
Ownership: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Size: 571,000 acres
Closest Town: Denio Junction
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: