Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge: A Gem in the Rough of Northeastern Washington

The Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge is over 40,000 acres in size and is 13 miles southeast of Colville, Washington in Stevens County. We had traveled there once before, but when the temperatures hit the 90's today, we decided it might be a road trip that would be a bit cooler. We loaded up dogs, chairs, a cooler, maps, and cameras for an afternoon road trip. It is easy to find and the roads are well marked. Our first point of interest was McDowell Lake. We didn't find it last time we toured through the refuge. Once we found it we understood why. You drive above the lake to an overlook and can only get down to the shoreline by hiking. Motorized boats are not allowed. We also learned today that swimming in not allowed in any of the lakes in the refuge. I just took pictures from the overlook. The trails down the steep bank were a bit intimidating. I was stunned by the beauty of the lake. I felt like I had stumbled back in time to a place people had not inhabited. There was an island and a tree-lined lake shore. Next we found Potter's Pond and Bayley Lake. Bayley Lake had dried up considerably from the last time we were there. It said no swimming, but we couldn't have reached water if we wanted. Potter's Pond is set up with a wildlife viewing place. We didn't hang around because of the dogs. Others were there viewing and probably didn't want the wildlife to take off because of two leashed, but excited dogs. All along the refuge there are primitive campgrounds. They are each set up with a fire pit and a clearning, but that is about it. We rested across from Potter's Pond at this campsite. The landscape changed. It was cooler as we set up our chairs next to the cedar grove. JEJ found a good place to rest. As I hiked in to the cedar grove to take pictures it was like an enchanted forest. The nice part of the whole day is how few people we encountered. After spending time in this quiet retreat among the cedars we decided to return tomorrow for a camping trip. I can smell the cedar again already! To learn more about the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge you can go here.


  1. it looks like a lovely place....

  2. What a lovely place........ green face with MrP lol


  3. Ahhh, I felt like I was home again. And those cedars! Wow, what a find for the ambitious and adventurous. Thanks for sharing a bit of God's country!

  4. Absolutely beautiful! Love that little island lake. . .and the cedar grove. . .and. . .and. . .and.

    I live next door to a wildlife refuge and love the scenery very much, but it is so different than the scenery at this pretty place. My treat these past few weeks has been to watch huge groups of white pelicans as they glide (yes, glide) through the air. I've been traveling to appointments along the gorge, and some days it feels like the pelicans know I'll be along and they are there to greet me. They are so huge and gentle, both.

    Thanks for a great post!

  5. I'm fascinated by the name. It sounds like a wonderful place to camp. Love that smell of cear!
    I hope you get to see lots of wildlife.
    I agree that blog friendships are amazing. It's surprising to feel such affection for people we've never met, isn't it? And yes, I feel I know many of my blog friends as well as some of the people I chat with after church.
    You've certainly received some nice surprises lately :)
    It was fun reading about your wedding garden. What a great idea for wedding gifts. Amazing how the space changed over the years. It's looking nice and cozy after all your work.
    I'm glad the repair guy from CA finally found you..and enjoyed his road trip in the process :)
    Have fun camping!


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