Fed by snowmelt from the Warner Mountains, the Pit River creates an oasis for wildlife in the high desert climate of Northeastern California. It’s the perfect environment for a wildlife refuge. One in a chain of National Wildlife Refuges along the Pacific Flyway extending from Alaska to Mexico, Modoc National Wildlife Refuge is an important resting and feeding area for migratory ducks, geese and other waterfowl en route north or south, depending on the season. The refuge offers several diverse habitats (reservoir, riparian, sagebrush-steppe, and cropland), supporting a wide rage of wildlife. Visibility of critters varies seasonally because of winter hibernation and tunneling. However, if you have sharp eyes and are attentive to cottonwood trees and sagebrush bushes, you’re likely to spy s great horned owl, a year-round resident of the refuge.
Although open all year from sunrise to sunset, the best opportunity to observe a great diversity of bird life is from April through May, and September through October, during morning or evening hours. If on foot, remember wildlife can be wary of humans and easily disturbed. Drop by the visitor center, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., to browse exhibits and talk with wildlife field guides about which animals to look for.
WHERE: Traveling south on Hwy 395 or east/west on Hwy 299: travel south down main street/Hwy 395 until you are nearly out of town. Take a left on County Road 56. Travel approximately 1 mile before turning right onto County Road 115. After 1.5 miles turn left onto the Modoc NWR main entrance road.
Traveling north on Hwy 395: after passing through the town of Likely, California, continue travelling north for approximately 10 miles before turning right onto County Road 115. Follow County Road 115 for approximately 4 miles, and the entrance road to Modoc NWR will be on the right. (google map)