Summer Lake Wildlife Area Visitors' Guide

Summer Lake Wildlife Area was established in 1944, with primary objectives of protecting and improving waterfowl habitat and providing a public hunting area. It is now a popular destination for hunting, wildlife viewing and environmental education due to its geographic setting, the abundance of wildlife present and species diversity.

A parking permit is required to park at this wildlife area. Find out how to buy a parking permit

Best time to visit: March - April for viewing migrating flocks of waterfowl including brightly plumaged ducks, geese and swans. April - May for viewing migrant shorebirds, other waterbirds and songbirds passing through the area.  May – July for breeding waterfowl and shorebirds. 

Visiting hours: Open 24 hours, 7 days a week.  Restrooms, maps, informational pamphlets, bird checklists and displays are found in the headquarters office lobby.

Summer Lake Wildlife Area Map (pdf)

What to see and do: This is one of the best places in Oregon to view migrating waterfowl shorebirds and other waterbirds. The area consists of a large marsh with associated uplands. An 8.3-mile tour route bisects the area. Dikes and roads closed to motor vehicles afford excellent hiking and viewing opportunities. The tour route is closed during hunting seasons (early October through late January) to provide refuge areas for waterfowl. Viewing is not recommended during hunting seasons. Bird checklists and maps are available at the check station.

  • Wildlife: Waterfowl (tundra and trumpeter swans, Canada, snow and white-fronted geese, mallard, gadwall, northern pintail, cinnamon and American green-winged teal, northern shoveler, ruddy duck, wigeon), shorebirds (such as American avocet, black-necked stilt, willet, snowy plover, Wilson’s and red-necked phalarope, killdeer, long-billed curlew, Wilson’s snipe, least and western sandpipers, dunlin) and other waterbirds (such as sandhill cranes, American coot, western, American white pelican, Caspian and Forster’s tern, Clark’s, eared and pied-billed grebes, great egret, great blue heron, white-faced ibis) are predominate species groups. Passerines (Brewer’s, red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds), marsh wren, song sparrow, common yellowthroat and 4 species of swallow (bank, barn, cliff, northern rough-winged and tree) are common. Northern harriers, red-tailed hawks and bald eagles are fairly common.
  • Facilities: Primitive campgrounds (4), restrooms (at each of the campgrounds and headquarters), trails (such as dikes, levees and roads closed to vehicles), viewing blinds (2). Hunting occurs in fall and winter (late August through January).
  • Nearby: Ana Reservoir (with a boat ramp) at the north end of the wildlife area provides good fishing opportunities, picnicking and camping. Fort Rock State Natural Area, about 35 miles north, offers picnicking, wildlife viewing, rock formations and a hiking trail.

Directions: The wildlife area is located in central Lake County along State Highway 31, 100 miles southeast of Bend and 75 miles northwest of Lakeview.

Maps (pdfs)

Address and Phone:
Summer Lake Wildlife Area
53447 Hwy. 31
Summer Lake, OR 97640
(541) 943-3152

Additional resources: