Day Hike - Tule & Lower Klamath Lakes


Day Hike - Tule & Lower Klamath Lakes

Photo/naturalist-oriented day trips to Pacific Flyway's largest fall gathering of migrating waterfowl in Klamath Basin refuges in N. California. 1-2 million waterfowl (geese, ducks, swans), owls, bald eagles and a variety of mammals may be present during fall and springs migrations.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Tue, Nov 19, 2019 — Sat, Nov 23, 2019
  • Seattle Naturalists Committee
  • Exploring Nature, Photography, Day Hiking
  • Adults
  • Easy+
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 10.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 500 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 4,300 ft

11/19 Tues & 11/20 Wed: Meet 6:45-7am 11/19 at Klamath Basin NWR HQ, Tulelake (CA) approx 20 miles S of Klamath Falls.  

11/21Thur & 11/22 Fri:  Meet 8am at NWR HQ, Tulelake, CA

11/23 Sat:  Meet 6:45-7am at NWR HQ, Tulelake




NOTE:  Before registering, be sure to read Leader Notes and Route/Place details/links to ensure your expectations are compatible with this trip. 
Leader monitoring NWR and NM status for potential fed shutdown  during trip dates (full access expected, except visitor centers may be closed).  --Thanks!
4-5 day trip:  we may finish a day early on 4th day, depending on group interests and weather conditions.  
Photo/naturalist-oriented day trips  during peak stopovers of the largest Pacific Flyway's fall waterfowl migration. 
 We'll focus our days at Tule Lake and Lower Klamath NWRs near Tulelake N.Calif, just south of Klamath Falls, OR with group option for 1-day side trip (3rd or last day) to Lava Beds NM for wildlife viewing/geology/easy hike (trail and/or cave).  Expect to see in the Klamath refuges among the up to 1-2 million migrating birds--snow geese, white- fronted geese, tundra swans, many duck species, owls, bald eagles, and a few mammals possible (deer, pronghorn antelope, fox, etc).
 Refuge trips will be leisurely paced, including extended stops for viewing and photographing birds and other wildlife, and scenic landscapes from auto tour roads and trails.   We'll start early at refuges for sunrise ~7AM on first two days and 5th day, start 8am on 3rd & 4th days, and stay until just after sunset ~4:40pm when favorable lighting conditions.
With clear skies, we'll have views waterfowl in flight with the nearby backdrop of snow-capped Mt Shasta.  
Carpooling options from Seattle area or Vancouver WA (leader departing 11/18 from Vancouver, with space for 1-2 riders). Shared or private lodging, beginning evening prior to first full day,  is recommended at motels in Klamath Falls.
 Weather forecast for Tulelake (CA):  Good forecast; 50+ degree days with freezing temps nights and early/late in day, no precip.  Click on day for details:
Be aware of drive time/distance between Seattle or Portland areas and Klamath Falls:  7.8 hours/453 mi from Seattle, and 4.5 hours/280 miles from Portland.   See route/place link for detailed directions.  Be prepared for possible winter driving conditions on highways 58 and 97.
Approximate distance between Klamath Falls and Tule Lake / Lower Klamath NWRs:  20 miles, via highway 97S and local roads (see detailed directions on route/place link).
 Interested in a spring migration trip?  A late winter / early spring trip (late Feb - March 3rd week) to Klamath Basin for 2020 spring migration peak is tentatively planned. 

Tule & Lower Klamath Lakes

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun protection
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination
  5. First aid supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair kit and tools, including knife
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
Trip Reports