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Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife Viewing Area
American Bald Eagle – Dave Menke

ADA Accessibility Notes

Be sure to check at the Visitor Center at 4009 Hill Road. There are some trails that are accessible.

Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a tremendous birding and wildlife viewing site. I'm always amazed at all the species I see when I travel the auto tour route. You can see American Bald Eagles, Great Blue Heron, Clark's Grebes, American White Pelicans to name a few of the species. Be sure to look for coyotes and other four-legged animals.

Tule Lake is part of a system to reclaim some of the former lake area which was drained in the early 1900s when much of the land was raffled off to homesteaders after WWI and WWII. The Tule Lake Basin is very fertile farm land that grows several crops such as grains, alfalfa, potatoes, mint, and onions to name a few. The Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge was formed in 1928 to preserve this pristine breeding ground for birds and wildlife.

The Kuchel Act of 1964 established a part of the refuge could be leased to farmers for crops. Today almost half the refuge allows farming (approximately 17,000 acres). There is a program called "Walking Wetlands" where refuge managers and private land owners have flooded farmland for bird habitat, and then drained the land. Once drained, less pests are around and the land is used for organic farming.

There are some folks who feel that farming the refuge is not an acceptable use of the refuge land, and also not good for the birds that inhabit the refuge. You will have to research the issue for yourself to determine an opinion. Can farming and wildlife habitat exist together and both thrive?

Great birding abounds in the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge which borders Lava Beds National Monument. The refuge is part of the larger Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges which has been rated one of the premiere wildlife viewing areas in the United States. In fact, Sunset Magazine called the "Klamath Basin the Number 1 Birding Hot Spot in the West." Come see what everyone is talking about and explore the Klamath Basin for yourself!

Start your trip by visiting the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center at 4009 Hill Road. An auto tour map of the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge is attached in the sidebar for your convenience.

Best Months and Seasons for Viewing

Spring and Falls

Best Time for Viewing

Early morning and late evening

Pet Friendly Notes

Always have your pet on a leash.

Nearby Places