Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Bitter Creek NWR is administered by Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The Refuge Complex main office is located off-refuge at 2493 Portola Road, Suite A, in Ventura, California.

Refuge Facts:

  • Established: 1985
  • Acres: 14,094
  • Location: The Refuge encompasses  parts of Kern, Ventura, and San  Luis Obispo Counties in  California. The area is  approximately 80 miles north of  Los Angeles, CA 

Natural History:

  • The primary habitat of the Refuge is open grassland providing valuable foraging habitat for California condors. The Refuge was used historically by the wild condor population.
  • Smaller areas of habitat consist of  juniper brush land, oak savannah, and pinyon pine/juniper/oak communities. Several springs are found within the Refuge  boundaries and creeks flow intermittently, depending upon rainfall. Bitter Creek Canyon provides a riparian corridor.
  • The Refuge protects the habitat of a variety of plants and animals, including the golden eagle, prairie falcon and the endangered San Joaquin kit fox and blunt-nosed leopard lizard.

Refuge Objectives:

  • Bitter Creek NWR was established to provide safe roosting and foraging habitat for use by California condors.
  • California Condors are now flying back and fourth from Ventura County and Bitter Creek NWR
  • The refuge is also used as a release site for California Condors. A large flight pen is housed at the refuge and is used to hold California Condors that are getting ready to be released into the wild.

Public Use :

  • The public can view the Refuge along HWY. 166 and Cerro Noroeste Rd, with the possibility of seeing a California condor.
  • Students visit the Refuge for environmental education 
  • While access to the Refuge is closed to the public, tours are  available upon request. Contact the  refuge manager for more information.

Questions and answers :

  • What are my chances of seeing a California condor from the roadside? 
    • California condors are known to feed  on and fly over the Refuge. Often they  will only be seen as a small dot in the  distance. A good pair of binoculars and/or a spotting scope is a must. Currently the condors are using the Refuge on a regular basis.
  • What other birds will I see on the Refuge from the roadside?
    • Birders will have opportunity to spot  golden eagles, prairie falcons, rough-legged hawks and Swainson’s hawks (winter), tri-colored blackbirds, loggerhead shrikes and many other species. 

Contact Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife Refuge Manager
PO Box 5839
Ventura, California  93005
Phone: (805) 644-5185


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Kern County, California
  • San Luis Obispo County, California
  • Ventura County, California

Office Locaters

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator