Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge

I’ll tell you the truth, I didn’t intend to visit – but mother nature intervened. We were in Oregon during the ‘storm of the century’ and while lower elevations were flooding, higher elevations were getting pelted by a blizzard. What I did intend to do was visit Crater Lake National Park, but the road was closed and the lake view was completely obscured anyhow. While that wasn’t meant to be, I wasn’t going to just sit in my AIRBNB with a pout on. I researched nearby areas of interest crossed with weather reviews, and heading south was my best bet. Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge has a series of parks located throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California. A mix of hiking and scenic drives revealed a world of wonderful birding, wildlife viewing, and landscape oogling.

After visiting the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex [4009 Hill Rd, Tulelake, CA 96134] grabbing a map and talking to ranger, we were off. Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge was first on the list. On the map we pinpointed bird blinds

and found hiking trails around the crowded lake. Crowded with birds! Many of them took off skittishly as we stepped within view, but I did catch a shot of a bird that was new to me – a white fronted goose.

There were many educational signs along this trail, which was right across the way from the headquarters. After hiking we hopped on the scenic drive which was absolutely astounding. The variation of waterfowl was endless. Grebe,

heron, pelican,


snow goose, just to name a few. There were also many harrier hawks perched on the telephone poles.

They would take off every time we got too close, sailing away towards the magic mountains.

There were animals other than birds, too. A coyote patrolling a vast field, joined by another other coyotes, which grappled with the hawk for whatever was in that golden grass.

Black tailed deer scampered along the road, running straight alongside us.

This was truly an amazing place.

With some extra daylight we were happy to try out a second section, Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

Here there were plenty more harriers,

but something different and new to my birding list was the vibrant and mosaic ring necked pheasant!

They were plentiful slinking amongst the canals. While I still long to visit Crater Lake National Park I am really happy to have discovered the refuge which worked as a perfect substitute for my nature lust. I would highly recommend it if you have an extra day in the area, especially if you are a birder!

This entry was posted in Oregon. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply