Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge

California

(530) 667-2231

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, located in rural northeastern California and southern Oregon, was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 as the nation's first waterfowl refuge. The refuge, with a backdrop of 14,000-foot Mount Shasta to the southwest, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as both a National Historic Landmark and a National Natural Landmark.

The 50,092-acre refuge is a varied mix of intensively managed shallow marshes, open water, grassy uplands, and croplands that provide feeding, resting, nesting, and brood-rearing habitat for waterfowl and other water birds. This refuge is one of the most biologically productive refuges within the Pacific Flyway.

Approximately 80 percent of the flyway's migrating waterfowl pass through the Klamath Basin on both spring and fall migrations, with 50 percent using the refuge. Peak waterfowl populations can reach 1.8 million birds, which represent 15 to 45 percent of the total birds wintering in California. The refuge produces between 30,000 and 60,000 waterfowl annually. The refuge is also a fall staging area for 20 to 30 percent of the central valley population of sandhill crane. From 20,000 to 100,000 shorebirds use refuge wetlands during the spring migration. Wintering wildlife populations include 500 bald eagle and 30,000 tundra swan. Spring and summer nesting wildlife include many colonial water birds, such as white-faced ibis, heron, egret, cormorant, grebe, white pelican, and gulls. In all, the refuge provides habitat for 25 species of special concern listed as threatened or sensitive by California and Oregon.

Map of Lower Klamath NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 42.000325, -121.709976

READ MORE

Activities

  • Bird Watching

    The refuge features two photoblinds that can be used by reservation only. Reservations can be made in person, by telephone or mail at the Refuge Visitor Center. Notable species of bird within the park include: American bald eagle, Golden eagle, American white pelican, White-faced ibis, Peregrine falcon, Tri-colored blackbird, Black tern, Pintail, mallard, gadwall, canvasback and Snow, Ross', white-fronted and Canada geese.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    A 10.2-mile auto tour provides visitors abundant and diverse wildlife viewing opportunities year-round. Highlights include white pelicans, egret, herons, grebes, American avocets, black-necked stilts, and white faced ibis (summer); large flocks of geese and ducks as well as sandhill cranes and shorebirds (spring/fall); and tundra swans, bald eagles and other raptors during the winter months.

  • Hunting

    Ducks are the most commonly hunted species on Lower Klamath Refuge. To stimulate productivity, marsh units are rotated from year to year on Lower Klamath and depths vary greatly. Hunting success is usually excellent the first weekend of the season with good to excellent hunting after that. Although most of the units are open to motor boats, some motor-less and walk in areas are also available.

  • Wildlife Watching

    A 10.2-mile auto tour provides visitors abundant and diverse wildlife viewing opportunities year-round. Highlights include white pelicans, egret, herons, grebes, American avocets, black-necked stilts, and white faced ibis (summer); large flocks of geese and ducks as well as sandhill cranes and shorebirds (spring/fall); and tundra swans, bald eagles and other raptors during the winter months.

Directions

Driving

Lower Klamath Refuge straddles the Oregon-California border along Stateline Highway 161, accessible from Highway 97.

The refuge headquarters and visitor center is located on Hill Road, approximately 5 miles west of Tulelake, California.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(530) 667-2231

Links