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Little Lake Overlook - California Watchable Wildlife Viewing Site #250

Wildlife Viewing Area
Male Ruddy Duck – Stephen Cresswell

ADA Accessibility Notes

Wheel-chair accessible trail is about a 100 yards long and will take you to the overlook.

Little Lake is one of the few remaining quality wetlands in the vicinity; it is an oasis in the desert. Interpretive panels provide information on birds, geology, and archaeological history of the Little Lake area. Located in the Owens Valley Corridor of the Pacific Flyway, thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds visit Little Lake during fall and spring migration. Large flocks of American White Pelicans can be seen migrating overhead, and raptors, such as the Prairie Falcon, nest on the cliffs above.

Several raptors can be observed hunting in the area, including Redtail Hawks, Northern Harriers, Ospreys, Golden Eagles, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Coopers Hawks. Peregrine Falcons migrate through the Owens Valley. You can also have the chance to view several kinds of swallows because of cliff nesting sites and the abundance of insects in the wetlands. The Little Lake Overlook is located in native desert shrub habitat with a variety of upland desert bird species, lizards, wild flowers, and native plant species.

In addition to a large diversity of birds, many interesting native plants grow here. This area was heavily used by Native Americans who mined obsidian in the Coso Mountains to the east. Ancient foot trails traverse the slopes a few miles to the south of here, and lithic scatters are also evident. The area also has interesting volcanic features, such as cinder cones and lava beds. In addition, interesting fault features are evident along the front of the Sierra Nevada range. The ancient Owens River flowed through the area leaving the 'fossil falls' a few miles to the north.

Best Months and Seasons for Viewing

Birding is best in spring and fall. Wildflowers in spring. There are year-round vistas of Little Lake and the Sierra Mountains and year-round enjoyment of geologic features.