Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

California

(530) 667-2231

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located in the fertile and intensively farmed Tule Lake Basin of northeast California. It was established in 1928 by President Calvin Coolidge "as a preserve and breeding ground for wild birds and animals," yet was still subject to conversion from wetland habitats to farmland under the Bureau of Reclamation's Klamath Project. This 39,116- acre refuge contains 13,000 acres of open water surrounded by 17,000 acres of commercial croplands. The endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers, as well as bald eagle, live in or use this refuge. The refuge is a significant staging area for migrating waterfowl during spring and fall migrations. It is used primarily by white-fronted, snow, Ross, and cackling Canada geese, all of which nest in the Arctic tundra. Under the Kuchel Act, the refuge contains 15,500 acres of commercial croplands leased by the Bureau of Reclamation with oversight by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The main crops grown are small grains, potatoes, onions, sugar beets, and alfalfa. By law, no more than 25 percent of the refuge croplands can be devoted to row crops. The residual grain stubble left after harvest provides an important source of waste grain used as a food source by migrating waterfowl.

Map of Tule Lake NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 41.896655, -121.524582

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Activities

  • Boating

    Boating is not available.

  • Bird Watching

    Throughout the spring and summer, many birds of prey nest at Tule Lake's Sheepy Ridge. Visitors can hope to see red-tailed hawks, prairie falcons, cliff swallows, barn owls and great horned owls. In the winter months, bald eagles can be seen perched looking for prey. The lone willow tree is also a great spot to see bald eagles perched and features a photoblind at the base of the tree. This blind is one of four within the refuge that are available for use by reservation only. Reservations can be made in person, by telephone or mail at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Auto tour routes are available at both Lower Klamath and Tule Lake Refuges. These routes are primarily improved gravel roads. The variety of habitats along these routes contribute to excellent wildlife viewing. Staying in your vehicle will increase your observation opportunities and reduce disturbance to wildlife.

  • Hiking

    Hiking is not available.

  • Hunting

    Waterfowl and pheasant Hunting occurs seven days per week during the normal California seasons, but shooting ends every afternoon at 1 pm. Tule Lake hunts consist of two large marsh units accessible by boats, a spaced-blind hunt in dry fields, and open free-roam areas offering field hunts over harvested grain and smaller marsh units. Opening weekend hunts are under a draw-permit system.

Seasonality/Weather

The Klamath Basin is at an elevation of 4000 feet and is bounded by higher mountains. Weather here is particularly unpredictable and visitors should be ready for all conditions throughout the year. Generally, however, summers are sunny and warm with highs 75-85° and lows in the 40's, while winters are cold with freezing nights and occasional snow. Average winter highs are in the 40's.

Directions

Driving

Tule Lake Refuge is in northern California near the small town of Tule lake. Located 25 miles north of the refuge, Klamath Falls, Oregon is the closest city. The refuge headquarters and visitor center is located on Hill Road, approximately five miles west of Tulelake, California. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; weekends and holidays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(530) 667-2231

Links