Best Birding in California

This list represents the most popular birding in California. Use this list to plan your next California birding trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

  • #1 Mt. Pinos Nordic Ski Area

    1 Reviews

    Frazier Park, CA

    Mt. Pinos Nordic Skiing is located in the Los Padres National Forest, a 220-mile stretch of coastal mountains between Carmel Valley to the north and Los Angeles on the southernmost tip. One of ...
    •  Difficulty
    •  Guide

    Mt. Pinos Nordic Skiing is located in the Los Padres National Forest, a 220-mile stretch of coastal mountains between Carmel ...

  • #2 Bolsa Chica Slough Trail

    3 Reviews

    Huntington Beach, CA

    This short hike makes a loop around this restored estuary and offers wonderful opportunities to observe a wide variety of bird species. Bolsa Chica features an easy, wheelchair-accessible trail ...
    •  45 mins
    •  1.5 miles
    •  Guide

    This short hike makes a loop around this restored estuary and offers wonderful opportunities to observe a wide variety of ...

  • #3 Fallen Leaf Lake - Moraine Trail

    3 Reviews

    South Lake Tahoe, CA

    Picturesque Fallen Leaf Lake, measuring three miles long, is the second largest alpine lake in the Tahoe Basin. The Moraine Trail crosses the Fallen Leaf Lake dam and parallels the west shore ...
    •  1.5 hours
    •  2.5 miles
    •  Guide

    Picturesque Fallen Leaf Lake, measuring three miles long, is the second largest alpine lake in the Tahoe Basin. The Moraine ...

  • #4 Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area

    2 Reviews

    Davis, CA

    At the time of its completion in 1997, the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area was the largest wetlands restoration project in the western United States. It consists of 3,700 acres lying entirely within ...
    •  Guide

    At the time of its completion in 1997, the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area was the largest wetlands restoration project in the ...

  • #5 Caswell Memorial State Park

    1 Reviews

    Manteca, CA

    Caswell Memorial State Park is a genuine riparian jungle. The overstory consists of huge valley oaks and cottonwoods, festooned with grapevines. The understory is a thicket of brambles, wild ...
    •  Guide

    Caswell Memorial State Park is a genuine riparian jungle. The overstory consists of huge valley oaks and cottonwoods, festooned ...

  • #6 Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail

    2 Reviews

    Pacific Grove, CA

    This rail-trail immerses you in the culture of the sea. If you are lucky, otters will be frolicking in the kelp off the coast of Pacific Grove when you pass. There is no doubt that sparkling ...
    •  4.8 miles
    •  Guide

    This rail-trail immerses you in the culture of the sea. If you are lucky, otters will be frolicking in the kelp off the coast ...

  • #7 Sacramento Refuge Complex

    1 Reviews

    Williams, CA

    There are six refuges in the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex: Sacramento, Colusa, Delevan, Sutter, Butte Sink, and Sacramento River (Llano Seco Unit) national wildlife refuges. The ...
    •  Guide

    There are six refuges in the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex: Sacramento, Colusa, Delevan, Sutter, Butte Sink, ...

  • #8 Bayshore Bikeway (Silver Strand)

    2 Reviews

    Coronado, CA

    The Silver Strand occupies a unique niche, arcing into the Pacific Ocean at the southwestern tip of the United States. The bikeway that runs along it offers fascinating views of this end of the ...
    •  9 miles
    •  Guide

    The Silver Strand occupies a unique niche, arcing into the Pacific Ocean at the southwestern tip of the United States. The ...

  • #9 Kern River Valley

    1 Reviews

    Kernville, CA

    Kern River Valley must be counted as one of the best birding sites in California because of its diversity. The South Fork of the Kern River supports the largest remaining stand of Great Valley ...
    •  Guide

    Kern River Valley must be counted as one of the best birding sites in California because of its diversity. The South Fork ...

  • #10 Western Divide Highway

    2 Reviews

    Porterville, CA

    The Western Divide Highway has many of the qualities of Sequoia National Park, but with only a fraction of the crowds. The road up from the foothills is steep, narrow, and twisty. When you get ...
    •  Guide

    The Western Divide Highway has many of the qualities of Sequoia National Park, but with only a fraction of the crowds. The ...

  • #11 Alum Rock Park

    0 Reviews

    San Jose, CA

    Alum Rock Park was founded in 1872, and at one time had an indoor swimming pool, mineral baths, a tea garden, restaurant, and dance pavilion, all served by a railroad from San Jose. The dance ...
    •  Guide

    Alum Rock Park was founded in 1872, and at one time had an indoor swimming pool, mineral baths, a tea garden, restaurant, ...

  • #12 Palo Alto Baylands and Shoreline at Mountain View

    0 Reviews

    Palo Alto, CA

    Palo Alto Baylands is one of the best-known birding sites in the Bay Area. Its 1,500 acres include an extensive salt marsh where Clapper and Black Rails are both regularly seen. (The California ...
    •  Guide

    Palo Alto Baylands is one of the best-known birding sites in the Bay Area. Its 1,500 acres include an extensive salt marsh ...

  • #13 Lake Solano and Putah Creek

    0 Reviews

    Vacaville, CA

    This section of Putah Creek is not what you would expect in the inner coastal ranges of California. It is a clear, rushing stream that flows at about the same rate all year long because of the ...
    •  Guide

    This section of Putah Creek is not what you would expect in the inner coastal ranges of California. It is a clear, rushing ...

  • #14 Sequoia National Park

    0 Reviews

    Three Rivers, CA

    Sequoia National Park ranges from the hot, dry foothills at Ash Mountain (1,700 feet), to Mount Whitney (14,494 feet), the highest peak in the lower 48 states. The largest trees in the world ...
    •  Guide

    Sequoia National Park ranges from the hot, dry foothills at Ash Mountain (1,700 feet), to Mount Whitney (14,494 feet), the ...

  • #15 Kaweah Oaks and Yokohl Valley

    1 Reviews

    Visalia, CA

    Kaweah Oaks consists of about 300 acres owned by The Nature Conservancy. It is essentially a riparian jungle, with valley oak, sycamore, cottonwood, willow, elderberry, blackberry, and wild rose, ...
    •  Guide

    Kaweah Oaks consists of about 300 acres owned by The Nature Conservancy. It is essentially a riparian jungle, with valley ...

  • #16 Crystal Basin

    1 Reviews

    Placerville, CA

    Crystal Basin is an attractive area. About half of the basin is in private hands, a legacy of railroad-building days. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (known familiarly as SMUD) has three ...
    •  Guide

    Crystal Basin is an attractive area. About half of the basin is in private hands, a legacy of railroad-building days. Sacramento ...

  • #17 Grizzly Island and Suisun Marsh

    0 Reviews

    Fairfield, CA

    Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, Peytonia Slough Ecological Reserve, and Hill Slough Wildlife Area add up to about 14,000 acres, but they constitute only a fraction of the vast wetlands in the area, ...
    •  Guide

    Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, Peytonia Slough Ecological Reserve, and Hill Slough Wildlife Area add up to about 14,000 acres, ...

  • #18 Bolinas Lagoon and Duxbury Reef

    0 Reviews

    Bolinas, CA

    A bird-watcher’s dream, this shallow, salt marsh lagoon at the wild southern edge of Point Reyes National Seashore is simple to paddle at high tide, when much of its 2-mile length is accessible. ...
    •  1-4 miles
    •  Guide

    A bird-watcher’s dream, this shallow, salt marsh lagoon at the wild southern edge of Point Reyes National Seashore is simple ...

  • #19 Morro Bay Estuary

    1 Reviews

    Morro Bay, CA

    One of the more prominent coastal landmarks in the state, 578-foot Morro Rock is the last of the Seven Sisters, a series of dramatic outcrops (there are nine, actually), stretching over 10 miles ...
    •  1-5 miles
    •  Guide

    One of the more prominent coastal landmarks in the state, 578-foot Morro Rock is the last of the Seven Sisters, a series ...

  • #20 Bartlett Park and Success Lake

    0 Reviews

    Porterville, CA

    Success Lake was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and has extensive recreational development. The main focus is on fishing and waterfowl hunting, but the riparian area just below ...
    •  Guide

    Success Lake was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and has extensive recreational development. The main focus ...