Day Hike - Tule & Lower Klamath Lakes


Day Hike - Tule & Lower Klamath Lakes

See thousands of amazing birds! Witness huge spring gathering of migrating waterfowl in Pacific Flyway's Klamath Basin refuges in N. CA & S. OR. 1-2 million waterfowl (geese, ducks, swans), sandhill cranes, hawks, owls, bald eagles and a variety of mammals may be present during migration.

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.
  • Easy/Moderate
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 500 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 4,500 ft

Klamath Basin NWR HQ in Tulelake, CA

3/5 update:  Canceled Mountaineers trip due to insufficient participants; changed to private trip and later dates with better weather.
Minimum 3 persons.   Adverse weather may postpone trip up to a week later.
NOTE:  Before registering, be sure to read Leader Notes and Route/Place details/links to ensure your expectations are compatible with this trip.
 4-5 day trip:  we may finish a day early on 4th day, depending on group interests and weather conditions.     Option for 3-4 day trip; start 3/12 or 3/13.  When registering, note preferred start day and carpooling status (drive and/or ride).  
Photo/naturalist-oriented day trips  during peak time at one of the largest Pacific Flyway's spring waterfowl migration stopovers. 
 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 1/2 to 1-day side trips (3rd or last day) to Upper Klamath Basin NWR, Klamath Marsh NWR, Clear Lake NWR and 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, sandhilll cranes, 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 ~6:30AM on first two days and 5th day, start 7AM on 3rd & 4th days, and stay until just after sunset when favorable lighting conditions.
With clear skies, we'll have views of waterfowl in flight with the nearby backdrop of snow-capped Mt Shasta.  
Carpooling options from Seattle area or Vancouver WA (leader departing 3/11 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/Merrill  (OR), Tulelake CA or camping at Lava Beds NM (nr  Tulelake).
 Weather forecast for Tulelake (CA):  To follow.  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 late 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).

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