Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Tule Lake NWR is located in the fertile and intensely farmed Tule Lake Basin of northeastern California. It was established in 1928 by President Calvin Coolidge as a,“preserve and breeding ground for wild birds and animals.”  This 39,116-acre refuge is mostly open water and  crop land.  Approximately 17,000 acres are leased by potato, onion, horse radish, alfalfa, and cereal grains within the Public Lease Lands program administered by the U.S Bureau of Reclamation. Permit holders farm an additional 1,900 acres in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).The endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers live in or use this refuge. 
The refuge is a significant staging area for migrating waterfowl during spring and fall migrations. It is used primarily by whitefronted, snow, Ross, and cackling Canada geese, all of which nest in the Arctic tundra. A 10-mile auto tour route allows for wildlife observation throughout the year. 

Visitor Activities

  • Visitor Center
    • Plan a stop by the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex visitor center !! The visitor center includes a non-profit book store, latest information on the refuge happenings and a colorful wildlife exhibit. 
  • Hunting
    • Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs. Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.
    • Tule Lake hunting opportunities consist of two large marsh units accessible by boats, a spaced-blind hunt in dry fields, and open free-roam areas offering field hunts over harvested grain and smaller marsh units.
  • Wildlife Viewing
    •  If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex! Be sure to take an extra minute to drive the Tule Lake Auto Tour route!!
    •  For more information about wildlife observation opportunities at Klamath Basin NWR, contact the Visitor Center at (530) 667-2231.
  • Interpretation
    • Refuge System interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world.  From self-guided walks to ranger-led programs, many national wildlife refuges help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat behind the landscapes.
    • In addition to staff and volunteers presenting programs to audiences, refuges use a variety of exhibits, signs, brochures, and electronic media to communicate natural history stories to visitors.  
    • Through Refuge System interpretation programs, you can learn why nearly all of the critically endangered Whooping Cranes spend the winter at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, about the beneficial role of wildfire to encourage native vegetation to grow at Necedah Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, and thousands of other interesting and informative stories.
  • Environmental Education
    • National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources. Thousands of youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.
    • Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of a particular national wildlife refuge?  Contact or visit Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex to check on program availability and reservation policies.  Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!
  • Photography
    • Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography.  That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started.  A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.
    • Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System. 


Contact Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Ron Cole
Refuge Manager
4009 Hill Rd
Tulelake, California  96134 - 9758
Phone: 530-667-2231
Fax: 530-667-8337


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Modoc County, California
  • Siskiyou County, California

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator