The Observation Hill trail winds through acres of sagebrush upland habitat overlooking the forested edges of Lake Lowell. These uplands are full of native plants like sagebrush, rabbitbrush, native wildflowers, and bunch grasses, and are home to an abundance of wildlife such as Northern Harriers, gopher snakes, Western Meadowlarks, and American badgers. Access the trail from the refuge visitor center or from the lot at the intersection of Roosevelt and Indiana Avenues. The Chronolog station, on the northern edge of the loop trail, overlooks a former farm field that is now home to many invasive plants. The Refuge plans to restore this area to sagebrush upland habitat. Visit this station to compare the established uplands to the transitioning farm fields as those fields transform into a better habitat for local wildlife. What plants will reappear first? What wildlife will make homes in the new habitat? Check out this station online to watch the restoration over time and seasonal changes in the uplands, restoration area, forest, and lake.
Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge has two units, Lake Lowell and the Snake River Islands, that provide important breeding and migratory habitat for birds and mammals, as well as other wildlife. The Refuge is a significant resting and wintering area for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway, including spectacular concentrations of mallards and Canada geese. Because of its value to birds, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge has been declared a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy. The refuge, established in 1909, is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Friends of Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2006 to promote, protect, and provide resources to preserve and enhance Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The Friends support Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge and its programs, advocating for the lands under Refuge management and for educational and restoration programs. The Friends envision the Refuge as a destination for visitors from around the Treasure Valley as well as from across the country and the world.