Kern National Wildlife Refuge

Delano, California

This is not the official site of the refuge: this is a fan site - find the official site here.


USFWS Kern National Wildlife Refuge - Official Site


Waterfowl Hunting Season runs from October through January.

South Auto tour route is closed to non-hunters on Wednesdays and Saturdays during waterfowl hunting season.

North Auto tour route is available year-round and may be accessed by birders and nature lovers on hunt days.

A juvenile Bald Eagle soars over the refuge on February 28, 2004 Alison Sheehey

Pixley is a non-hunting refuge. The Pixley Refuge trail is open 365 days a year for birding. Please stay on the trail.

Kern National Wildlife Refuge Successful in Watering Complete Habitat for First Time in 40 Years - FWS Press Release

Kern wildlife refuge sees boom in bird population - Modesto Bee article

The Future of KNWR: Planning Process Documents in PDF format

An underfed California Ground Squirrel at KNWR (well according to the squirrel) Alison Sheehey

Northern Harrier Alison Sheehey

Coyote Alison Sheehey

General Information & History

Kern National Wildlife Refuge Complex consists of 2 national wildlife refuges, Kern, and Pixley which total 18,082 acres of habitat in the Central Valley of California.  

Kern National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR) is located 18 miles west of the city of Delano at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley of California.. The refuge headquarters is at the junction of Garces Highway and Corcoran Road. This 11,249-acre Kern refuge consists of natural valley grasslands, a relict riparian corridor, and developed marsh. A new visitor center and office complex opened in late 1999 and an upgraded pond with an interpretive kiosk was built in 2011. Two Auto tour routes are available. A year round 4.3-mile route covers the northern section of the refuge and another 6.5-mile route leads through the some of the central wetlands. The Southern Tour Route is closed during October through January on Wednesdays and Saturdays to accommodate hunters. Hunting opportunities for waterfowl are jointly managed by refuge staff and the California Dept. of Fish and Game.

Spring is a great time to visit Alison Sheehey

Kern National Wildlife Refuge lies just south of the original Tulare Lake Bed in the southern San Joaquin Valley of California. This lake covered almost 1/2 million acres during flood years and was home millions of individual fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Although, KNWR is just a remnant habitat, it still supports a surprising number of species. KNWR provides wintering habitat for migrating birds, shorebirds, marsh and waterfowl in the southern San Joaquin Valley. The refuge also provides habitat for upland species. The endangered Buena Vista Lake shrew, San Joaquin kit fox and blunt-nosed leopard lizard make their home here.

A Loggerhead Shrike surveys the landscape while foraging along the auto tour route Alison Sheehey

Pixley National Wildlife Refuge consists of 6,833 acres of valley grassland and wetland habitats. Pixley National Wildlife Refuge is along the eastern edge of the San Joaquin Valley. Home to a small marsh and a significant portion of valley grassland habitat, this refuge supports many of the endangered species that occur in the southern San Joaquin Valley. This is the best place in the southern valley to view wintering Sandhill Cranes. A new self-guided nature trail opened in June 2001, thanks to Tulare County Audubon Society.

Birding Opportunities

The refuge is open from from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset, 7 days a week for nature observation.

Four species of rails breed on the refuge, this is a Common Gallinule (Moorhen). Alison Sheehey


Kern National Wildlife Refuge Complex
P.O. Box 670

Delano, CA 93216-0670

(661) 725 2767

Refuge Weather by NOAA



Road Map

Tour Route & General Refuge Map

BW_SJV_copy.jpg (50490 bytes)

Historic San Joaquin Valley River Drainages

Websites of Interest




Refuge Wildlife

Cliff Swallow Alison Sheehey

Goldfields   Alison Sheehey


Kern River Preserve

Carrizo Plain National Monument

Windwolves Preserve

Desert Tortoise Preserve

Lokern Preserve

Sand Ridge Preserve

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park Fort Tejon State Historic Park Pixley Vernal Pools Preserve Tule Elk State Reserve

Kaweah Oaks Preserve

Semitropic Ridge Preserve

Webmaster Alison Sheehey. Site Copyright 1998-2015
Nature Ali   All rights reserved.  

page updated 08-Jan-2015