The Refuges

The Refuges within the San Diego Wildlife Refuge Complex each have their own unique opportunities to watch and learn about wildlife and their habitat. Select each refuge name below to learn more and get useful visitor information.

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge offers one of the last expanses of open space in coastal southern California with exceptional biological, social, historical, and economic values and is protected as a sanctuary not just for plants and animals but also for people. Established in 1996 and at about 12,445 acres from the city of Jamul to communities in Spring Valley and eastern Chula Vista, the refuge is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s contribution to the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), a landscape-wide habitat conservation plan to preserve habitat and species while allowing appropriate development. Visitors have the opportunity to go hiking, biking, birding, and horseback riding as well as photograph endangered species and get a tour from a refuge ranger.

San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge protects a rich diversity of endangered, threatened, migratory, and native species and their habitats in the midst of a highly urbanized coastal environment. The Refuge is situated at the south end of San Diego Bay and is surrounded by the cities of National City, Chula Vista, San Diego, Imperial Beach, and Coronado. Established to protect endangered and threatened species, the Refuge encompasses approximately 2,620 acres of land and water in and around San Diego Bay.

Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge

Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge is 1,072 acres in size and is located where the Tijuana River meets the Pacific Ocean, also called the Tijuana Estuary. Be sure to spend some time out discovering the trails to take in the incredible views and birds that soar across the estuary. The Refuge is also home to the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve which is managed by the California State Parks and is the home of the Tijuana Estuary Visitors Center. The Visitors Center has interactive displays and a great bookstore. Friends members get 10% off!