California Wildlife Area Camping Locations

California Wildlife Area camping locations, California Wildlife Area camping spots, California public hunting campgrounds for California hunting seasons.

On this page, you’ll find info about 35 California Wildlife Area camping locations, including national wildlife refuges. We identify general rules and restrictions related to when, where, and how you camp with tents, camper trailers, motorhomes, and RV’s. Use our custom maps for driving directions, checking stations, parking lots and more.

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General Rules for California Wildlife Area camping locations

You can find general rules for California wildlife area camping locations at 14 CCR Section 550(p) and summarized below.

Wildlife Areas

For California wildlife area camping locations, “camping” is any overnight stay in a tent, motorhome, camper, boat, or other vehicle.

Camping Areas

You can only camp at a wildlife area if there’s a designated camping area. There are 35 wildlife areas with designated spots. They’re all identified in Sections 551(m) and 552 of the California Code of Regulations. To camp outside of those spots, you need written consent from the CDFW. They only give permission for the purpose of research, monitoring, or management.

Ecological Reserves

Camping is not allowed at ecological reserves. See 14 CCR 550(p).

Motorhomes and Campers

You can only use a camper, camping trailer, or motorhome if there’s an area specifically designated for them. Those areas typically include check stations and parking lots.

Registration

Before camping, you have to register at the check station or designated office. You can only register one camper, camping trailer, or motorhome.

Size Limitation

It’s illegal to use a camper, camp trailer or motorhome that’s  over 30-feet long.

Tow Vechicles

Tow vehicles for camp trailers have to be stowed in a designated vehicle parking lots.

Visitation

While camping, you’re expected to visit the wildlife area at least once a week. If not, you could get towed and receive a citation.

Time Limit

In general, you can only camp for one week at a time, and no more than 14 nights per year.

Utility and Cargo Trailers

You need a Special Use Permit to put a utility or cargo trailer in an area designated for campers, camping trailers, and motorhomes.

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Northern California Wildlife Area Camping Locations

Ash Creek Wildlife Area

At the Ash Creek Wildlife Area, you can camp, but check the information booth for any restrictions.

Honey Lake Wildlife Area

At the Honey Lake Wildlife Area, you can camp at the Fleming and Dakin Units, but check the information booth for any restrictions.

Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area

At the Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area, you can camp, but check the information booth for any restrictions.

Shasta Valley Wildlife Area

At the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area, you can camp, but check the information booth for any restrictions.

Surprise Valley Wildlife Area

At the Surprise Valley Wildlife Area, you can camp, but on from August 16 through March 31, and only in the south parking area.

Tehama Wildlife Area

At the Tehama Wildlife Area, you can camp, but check the information booth for any restrictions.

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North Central California Wildlife Area Camping Locations

Antelope Valley Wildlife Area

At the Antelope Valley Wildlife Area, you can camp, but only from May 1 through October 31. You cannot use motorhomes or camping trailers.

Butte Valley Wildlife Area

At the Butte Valley Wildlife Area, you can camp but check the information booth for any restrictions.

Cache Creek Wildlife Area

At the Cache Creek Wildlife Area, you can camp but not within a quarter mile of designated parking areas. You cannot use motorhomes or camping trailers.

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

California wildlife area camping locations during waterfowl season.
Gadwall in flight.

At the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, you can camp but only during waterfowl season, the night before each shoot day. You have to camp in the checking station parking lots. You can only use a vehicle, motorhome, or camping trailers. Tents are not allowed.

Daugherty Hill Wildlife Area

At the Daugherty Hill Wildlife Area, you can camp but only in designated parking lots. You can use camp trailers, but not tents.

Delevan National Wildlife Refuge

California wildlife area camping locations during waterfowl season.
“Lessers” behind 3 Cacklers

At the Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, you can camp but only during waterfowl season, the night before each shoot day. You have to camp in the checking station parking area. You can only use a vehicle, motorhome, or camping trailers. Tents are not allowed.

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

California wildlife area camping locations during waterfowl season.At the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, you can camp from between one week before and one week after the general waterfowl season. You have to camp in the designated camping trailer and motorhome area. All camp trailers and motorhomes must be registered at the checking station within one week of placement. Campers must remain attached to a registered vehicle when on the area. (“Campers” are defined as a shell or shelter made to be mounted on a pickup truck.) Tents are not allowed.

Hope Valley Wildlife Area

At the Hope Valley Wildlife Area, only backpack camping is allowed and it must be east of Highway 89. Camping trailers and motorhomes are not allowed.

Indian Valley Wildlife Area

At the Indian Valley Wildlife Area, camping is allowed but you cannot use camping trailers or motorhomes.

Oroville Wildlife Area

At the Oroville Wildlife Area, camping is allowed but only in designated camping sites. You also need a permit from the Oroville CHP office. Call (530) 538-2700.

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

California wildlife area camping locations during waterfowl season.At the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, you can camp but only during the waterfowl season, the night before each shoot day. You have to camp in the checking station parking area. You can only use a vehicle, motorhome, or camping trailer. Tents are not allowed.

Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge

At the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge, you can camp but only on the gravel bars. You cannot stay more than one week in a 30-day period.

Spenceville Wildlife Area

At the Spenceville Wildlife Area, you can camp but only from September 1 through the end of the spring turkey season. You have to camp in designated campsites.

Sutter National Wildlife Refuge

California wildlife area camping locations during waterfowl season.At the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge, you can camp but only during the waterfowl season, the night before each shoot day. You have to camp in the checking station parking area. You can only use a vehicle, motorhome, or camping trailer. Tents are not allowed.

Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area

California wildlife area camping locations during waterfowl season.
Cinnamon Teal in flight.

At the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area, you can camp but only during the waterfowl season, the night before each shoot day. You have to camp in the checking station parking lots.

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Bay Delta California Wildlife Area Camping Locations

Grizzly Island Wildlife Area

At the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, you cannot camp. The only exception is during elk season, but only with prior written consent from the area manager.

Knoxville Wildlife Area

At the Knoxville Wildlife Area, only primitive camping is allowed and you have to be more than a quarter mile from Berryessa-Knoxville Road.

Lake Sonoma Wildlife Area

At the Lake Sonoma Wildlife Area, you can camp but only in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds.

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Central California Wildlife Area Camping Locations

Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Area

At the Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Area, you can camp but only in the Upper Cottonwood Creek Unit parking lot.

Little Panoche Reservoir

At the Little Panoche Reservoir Wildlife Area, you can camp but only in the parking lot. During an authorized dog trial, you need a Special Use Permit.

Los Banos Wildlife Area

California wildlife area camping locations during waterfowl season.
Green-Winged Teal in flight.

At the Los Banos Wildlife Area, you can camp but only during waterfowl season, and only in the main office parking area.

Mendota Wildlife Area

California wildlife area camping locations during waterfowl season.
Green-Winged Teal (Drake)

At the Mendota Wildlife Area, you can camp but only during waterfowl season, and only in the checking station parking lot.

North Grasslands Wildlife Area

California wildlife area camping locations during waterfowl season.
Drake Gadwall

At the North Grasslands Wildlife Area, you can camp but only during waterfowl season, and only in the checking station parking lot.

O’Neill Forebay Wildlife Area

At the O’Neil Forebay Wildlife Area

San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

At the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, you can camp but not in the San Luis, Blue Goose, or West Bear Units.

San Luis Obispo Wildlife Area

At the San Luis Obispo Wildlife Area, you can camp but only in the parking lot. A Special Use Permit is required if there are more than 30 vehicles in the parking lot. (You cannot hunt at this area.)

San Luis Reservoir Wildlife Area

At the San Luis Reservoir Wildlife Area, you can camp but only in the parking lot.

Volta Wildlife Area

At the Volta Wildlife Area, you can camp but only in the check station parking lot.

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South Coast California Wildlife Area Camping Locations

There are no wildlife areas where camping is allowed in the South Coast of California.

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Inland Deserts California Wildlife Area Camping Locations

Imperial Wildlife Area

Imperial National Wildlife RefugeAt the Imperial Wildlife Area, you can camp at the Wister Unit but only in the designated area. You have to use a motorhome or camping trailer, but the trailer cannot be unattached. An entry permit is required. You cannot camp in a tent. At the Finney-Ramer Unit, you can camp but only in the designated area at Finney Lake.

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Alphabetical List of California Wildlife Area Camping Locations

  1. Antelope Valley Wildlife Area
  2. Ash Creek Wildlife Area
  3. Butte Valley Wildlife Area
  4. Cache Creek Wildlife Area
  5. Colusa National Wildlife Refuge
  6. Delevan National Wildlife Refuge
  7. Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Area
  8. Daugherty Hill Wildlife Area
  9. Gray Lodge Wildlife Area
  10. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area
  11. Honey Lake Wildlife Area
  12. Hope Valley Wildlife Area
  13. Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area
  14. Imperial Wildlife Area (Finney-Ramer Unit)
  15. Imperial Wildlife Area (Wister Unit)
  16. Indian Valley Wildlife Area
  17. Knoxville Wildlife Area
  18. Lake Sonoma Wildlife Area
  19. Little Panoche Reservoir Wildlife Area
  20. Los Banos Wildlife Area
  21. Mendota Wildlife Area
  22. North Grasslands Wildlife Area
  23. O’Neil Forebay Wildlife Area
  24. Oroville Wildlife Area
  25. Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
  26. Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge
  27. San Luis Obispo Wildlife Area
  28. San Luis Reservoir Wildlife Area
  29. Shasta Valley Wildlife Area
  30. Spenceville Wildlife Area
  31. Surprise Valley Wildlife Area
  32. Sutter National Wildlife Refuge
  33. Tehama Wildlife Area
  34. Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area
  35. Volta Wildlife Area

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