Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge
In spring, more than 100,000 nesting Common Murre make their home on these rocks just a half-mile offshore from the town of Oceanside. Designated as the first National Wildlife Refuge west of the Mississippi River, Three Arch Rocks Refuge consists of three large and six smaller rocks totaling 15 acres.
The rocks provide habitat for Oregon’s largest breeding colony of Tufted Puffins, along with Leach’s Storm-petrel, Brandt’s Cormorant and Pigeon Guillemot. The refuge also supports the largest breeding colony of Common Murre south of Alaska and is the only pupping site on the north Oregon coast for the federally threatened Steller sea lion.
To prevent disturbance to extremely sensitive seabirds, Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge is closed to public entry year-round and waters within 500 feet of the refuge are closed to all watercraft from May 1 through September 15. But it can be observed from shore in Oceanside and from Cape Meares.