Central Valley Visitor Information

Watchable Wildlife Central Valley

California Watchable Wildlife celebrates the state’s wildlife and diverse habitats by acknowledging and elevating the value of wildlife viewing to benefit individuals, families, communities, and industries while fostering awareness and support for wildlife and habitats.

In California, over 90% of the historic wetlands and 95% of the historic riparian areas no longer exist. Constructed levees now confine the rivers for irrigation and flood control, preventing the natural flooding of wetlands. Despite these changes, birds continue to fly their ancient migration routes along the Pacific Flyway and crowd into the remaining wintering habitat. The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, made up of Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa, and Sutter Refuges, and the Llano Seco Unit, is located in the Sacramento Valley. The Valley is the most important wintering site for waterfowl using the Pacific Flyway, attracting more than 2 million ducks and 750,000 geese. Surrounded by farmlands and flanked by the southern Cascade and northern Sierra Nevada and Coast Range, the permanent ponds and seasonal marshes of the Sacramento Refuges are a wetland wildlife oasis. This is especially important to the wintering migratory waterfowl, as they journey to their wintering grounds, in the Central Valley of California, by the millions. In the Southern Central Valley, Carrizo Plain is the state’s largest remaining example of the once-vast grasslands that made up the San Joaquin Valley ecosystem. The Kern National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wetland area in the Southern San Joaquin Valley and plays a vital role in the Pacific Flyway for migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds.

Participate or follow a year long photo contest in cooperation with Outdoor California, a publication of the California Dept. of Fish and Game.  Three monthly prizes will be awarded and a grand prize winner will be chosen from the monthly winners.  Images must be taken at a California Watchable Wildlife viewing site.

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Top Attractions in the Central Valley Area

Bakersfield Music Theatre
Bidwell Park & Bidwell Mansion
Boomers, Modesto
Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, Bakersfield
Buttonwillow Raceway Park
California Living Museum
California State Capitol & Museum
California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
Explorit Science Center
Fairytale Town
Feather River Fish Hatchery, Oroville
Folsom Premium Outlets
Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno
National Yo Yo Museum, Chico
Old Sacramento
Oroville Dam & Lake, Oroville
Sacramento Zoo
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge
Sierra Nevada Brewing Tour
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

Activities in the Central Valley Area

American River Parkway

Every city, it seems, has a trail where dog walkers can see and be seen. …
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Blossom Trail

Take this self-guided motor or bicycle tour, organized by the Fresno County Blossom Trail Committee, …
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Celebrate Winter at a Wildlife Festival

Winter is the season to enjoy the spectacular migratory bird life along the famed Pacific …
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Central Valley Museums

No Visit to a California destination would be complete without visiting one of the many …
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Explore Bats in Yolo Basin

Within the shadow of the capitol of California, the Yolo Bypass offers excellent wildlife viewing …
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Feather Falls Loop, Oroville

It is a spectacular waterfall, plunging 410 ft. along the Fall River. Feather Falls flows …
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