Wildlife Viewing

Photo of birding in Lake County

Spying for Violet-green Swallows on an early spring morning at Boggs Mountain

Located along the Pacific Flyway, Lake County’s KRT trails bring you up close to more than 300 species of birds. With diverse landscapes sprawled around Clear Lake, birds and other wildlife make Lake County their home throughout the seasons.

Contact the Redbud Audubon Society, whose volunteers have compiled an extensive list of over 300 bird species. They also organize the annual Christmas Bird Count in Lake County.

The Bureau of Land Management, organizes guided bald eagle hikes every January & February. More info is available here.

Great places to view wildlife

Photo of Great Blue Heron with bull frog at Clear Lake State Park

Great Blue Heron with bull frog at Clear Lake State Park

Alpine Park – This lovely park in Lucerne has a gazebo – a great “perch” to observe coots, mallards and other waterfowl.

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park – McVicar Trail, Cache Creek Trail. Great viewing also from Water Trails 2 – Anderson Marsh and 3 – Cache Creek Dam.

Bachelor Valley Rd – This tucked-away bucolic valley northwest of Upper Lake off Hwy 20 is a wildlife and rural back road photographer’s delight!

Blue Lakes – Ideally from the water. An osprey’s nest is located on the southern end of Upper Blue Lake.

Boggs Lake Ecological Reserve – A fascinating vernal pool (usually filled from Dec-June) on Mt Hannah, off Harrington Flat Rd. The trail is maintained by the Lake County Land Trust on behalf of The Nature Conservancy. Boggs Lake features some of the most unique native plants in the state of California.

Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest – Bird boxes (for swallows) near heliport by main parking lot, Interpretive Trail.

Bridge Arbor Rd – On the southern end, a small park owned by the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife is located at the confluence of Scotts Creek and Middle Creek – great areas to observe waterfowl especially at high water in the spring. See Water Trail 7 – Rodman Slough.

Clark’s Island – This darling little County park with a “living dock” and “floating island” is a great spot to observe river otters and waterfowl. Profuse stands of hollycocks and other ornamental plants make this a favorite spring destination.

Clear Lake State Park – Kelsey Creek Boardwalk, Dorn Trail.

Highland Springs Recreation Area – Anywhere along Highland Springs Reservoir and Adobe Reservoir.

The Middle Creek Nature Area, located in Upper Lake, consists of several hundred acres in reclaimed wetlands historically used for rice farming. Boasting one of the largest blue heron rookeries in Lake County, the bucolic setting – as part of the migratory bird route – is a haven for birdwatching.

Middletown Trailside Park – A fabulous spot for birding, this County park is frequented by local photographers.

Rodman Preserve – Operated by the Lake County Land Trust, the preserve is open every Saturday morning at 9am (May-September) and 8am (June-August) for guided walks on mostly level trails.

Rodman Slough County Park – Trails along the Clear Lake shoreline are great for observing waterfowl and river otters.

Scotts Valley Rd – Northwest from Lakeport, the ranches and orchards along this lightly used road are wonderful areas to view wild turkeys and predators such as bobcats!


For unique destination trips, Bernie & Lynne Butcher, proprietors of the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, organize thematic Road Scholar programs. Events include backcountry birding (water and land trails), historic trips, and nature studies in many scenic Lake County destinations.

Learn about the Road Scholar and the 2015 programs.

Screen capture of the Road Scholar birding program in Upper Lake, CA

Nature and wildlife studies are some of the programs organized by the Tallman Hotel with the Road Scholar