Visit Us

Hours of Operation

Tour Route and Walking Trail: Open 7:00 AM-Sunset

Office Headquarters and Visitors Center: Open Monday-Friday 7:00 - 3:30 except on holidays. On rare rare occasions the office may close early. Call us at (530) 233-4143 for more information about office hours.

Visitor Center

Open Monday-Friday from 7 AM-3:30 PM expect on holidays. See wild creatures up close and personal in the Modoc NWR Visitors Center. Here you will find a number of mounted specimens representing many of the species of animals that can be found at Modoc. In addition, you can have questions answered personally by staff members if you are interested in learning about the refuge's history.  

Modoc Weather

Modoc NWR sits at an elevation of 4,370 feet above sea level, so it is very susceptible to extreme weather events. Summers are typically hot and dry, while winters are fairly dry and can have extremely low temperatures. Spring and fall often bring windy conditions with an increase in the likelihood of storms. No matter the season, you should always be prepared for the possibility of cold temperatures. Average temperatures and precipitation amounts are detailed in the following table:

MonthPrecipitation (In.)Avg. High (F)Avg. Low (F)Avg. Temp(F)


Each February — while snow is still on the ground — Modoc National Wildlife Refuge welcomes families of sandhill cranes, followed by crane-loving visitors with binoculars. Below you will find more information about the recreational opportunities at the Modoc NWR.

Related Documents

Finding the Refuge

Modoc National Wildlife Refuge is located along the south fork of the Pit River near the town of Alturas, California in extreme northeastern California. 

Traveling south on highway 395 or east/west on highway 299: Travel south down main street/highway 395 until you are nearly out of town. Take a left on County Road 56. Travel approximately 1 mile before turning right onto County Road 115. After 0.9 miles turn left onto the Modoc NWR main entrance road.

Traveling north on highway 395: After passing through the town of Likely, California, continue travelling north for approximately 10 miles before turning right onto County Road 115. Follow County Road 115 for approximately 4 miles and the entrance road to Modoc NWR will be on the right.

See map below.

Modoc Map.pdf

Map of Modoc NWR displaying boundaries, access areas, and more.

Rules and Policies

Dorris Reservoir Access 

  • The reservoir is closed to all public use during waterfowl hunting season, from October 1st through January 31st, to provide an additional sanctuary for wildlife. 
  • Walk-in access is allowed beginning on February 1st. 
  • Shoreline areas, islands, and peninsulas with nesting waterfowl are signed and closed to public access during waterfowl nesting season, March 1 through May 31. 
  • Licensed motorized vehicles are permitted on designated roads between April 1 and September 30. To protect wildlife habitat and plant and animal life, and to reduce soil erosion, off-road vehicle travel is not allowed. 
  • Fishing is permitted at the reservoir during the regular California State season with all State fishing regulations applicable. 
  • Boating is open April 1 through September 30. There are two boat launches and two other vehicle access points to the reservoir. No-wake zones in coves are designated with buoys to protect goose broods and other wildlife. 
  • Bicycles and mountain bikes are allowed April 1 through September 30 on roads designated for motor vehicles. No bike trails are available. 
  • Horseback riding is allowed April 1 through September 30 on roads and the designated trail across the dam. This trail, between the north and south gates, provides safe passage for riders and their horses off of Parker Creek Road. 
  • Swimming is available in areas open to public access April 1 through September 30.  
  • Personal watercraft (jet skis, wave runners, sea-doos, waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, etc.) are prohibited. 
General Guidelines 
  • Please park in designated parking areas and walk to the water's edge. 
  • Most of the lakeshore is privately owned. Please respect the private landowner's rights and obtain permission to use their property. 
  • For the benefit of wildlife and other refuge users, pets must be leashed at all times. 
  • Please respect others by maintaining the pack-in, pack-out policy for your trash. Littering is prohibited. 

Refuge Tour Route and Walking Trail

  • The refuge tour route is open to driving, biking, horse-back riding, and walking from 7:00 AM-Sunset.
  • Dogs are welcome, but they must be on a leash at all times.  
  • Speed limit on the tour route is 10mph.
  • Do not leave the designated tour route or walking trail.

Remainder of Refuge Lands

The remainder of the refuge is closed (except hunt units) to all public access unless accompanied by refuge staff during a special event or a special-use permit has been granted. 


Modoc National Wildlife Refuge
5364 County Road 115Alturas,CA96101