California Shasta Cascade Trinity Visitor Information

Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, Alturas

Fed by snowmelt from the Warner Mountains, the Pit River creates an oasis for wildlife in the high desert of northeastern California — Modoc National Wildlife Refuge. The 7,000 + acre refuge was established in 1961 to manage and protect migratory waterfowl. Funds available from the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act helped purchase this refuge, which is located just south of Alturas, California.


One in a chain of National wildlife refuges along the Pacific Flyway extending from Alaska to Mexico, Modoc National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is an important resting and feeding area for migratory birds. Migratory bird production and maintenance is the primary purpose of the refuge.


Laying at an elevation of 4,365 feet, the refuge is situated near the confluence of the north and south forks of the Pit River. Modoc NWR lies just beyond the western edge of the Great Basin, with the Warner Mountain range on the east and the Adin Mountain range on the west. Several habitat types are represented: freshwater lakes and ponds, farmland and irrigated meadows, sagebrush upland and riparian corridors. In addition to the migratory bird populations, these diverse habitats support a wide range of other wildlife.


The best opportunity to observe a great diversity of bird life is from April through May and September through October. The best viewing is during morning or evening hours. Binoculars or a spotting scope can help you observe wildlife from a distance and minimize disturbance. Your car can be a good vantage point and act as a wildlife blind. If on foot, remember wildlife is wary of humans and easily disturbed. A wildlife field guide will help you learn in which habitat to look for specific species.

For additional information please contact the Refuge:

Modoc National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 1610
Alturas, CA 96101
Phone: 530.233.3572
Fax: 530.233.4143

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Camp-California is concerned about the health and safety of our campers and adventurers. While camping and outdoor activities do offer the ability to self-isolate, we are encouraging all California residents and travelers to shelter in place until further notice. We recognize that getting outdoors is what you do best, and we will be here to reacquaint you with nature once we're cleared for adventure again!


Most private parks are open with 14-day minimums. If you are a full-time RVer looking to shelter in place, a member of the traveling medical profession, or a utility worker looking for a park please call our office and we can connect you with an appropriate location.