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Winter Wildlife Viewing

Winter WIldlife Adventures in Southern California

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With the cooler weather comes some wonderful opportunities to view wildlife. From butterflies to
Big Horn Sheep, you'll be amazed at what you'll find within an easy drive of the Los Angeles basin!

Bald Eagles

Undoubtedly the best place to view our national bird in California is in the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge near the California and Oregon border. But you are also almost guaranteed to see them at Cachuma Lake from November thru February.

Credit: Lilian Darling Holt

Big Horn Sheep

According to resident expert Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel, founder of the Community Hiking Club, the best time to see Big Horn Sheep is when it is cold and snowy in the Angeles National Forest, because they come down to the lower levels. To get an opportunity to view them, you'll still need to get off the well-worn trails into more rugged areas. Places you may see them are Mt. Waterman, Pleasant View Ridge, and possibly Bridge to Nowhere. However, be aware they are very shy and are mean by nature, so do not approach them for a photograph. An Adventure Pass is required.


The Goleta Butterfly Grove, also referred to as "Elwood Main," is located just north of Santa Barbara in the Sperling Preserve on the Ellwood Mesa in Goleta, CA. The Monarchs are typically found in the preserve from mid-November to mid-February. Free.

Credit: Newport Landing

Whale Watching

The Newport Landing, is located about an hour south of Santa Clarita in Newport Beach--just north of San Diego and Dana Point and south of Long Beach and Los Angeles. December through April is the prime Grey Whale migration period. Newport Landing is ideally positioned to take advantage of the annual Grey whale migration, which brings hundreds of Grey Whales along the Laguna Beach coastline and within minutes of Newport Harbor. May through November brings warmer waters and the opportunity to view blue whales to 80 feet, finback whales, huge pods of dolphin that number in the thousands, seals, killer whales, sharks, and many other marine creatures. Check Santa Clarita Guide's Special Offers for a coupon!

A Bit Further, but Worth the Drive!

Elephant Seals

The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, Okay, so it is a 3.5 hour drive, but it is SO worth it and you can combine a visit to Hearst Castle with your trip. While the middle of May is the peak time to view the largest population of Elephant Seals on the beach (approximately 4,000), from mid-January through May you'll find between 1500-4000 animals. If you specifically wish to see adult males, they are most often at the Rookery between December-March. The graphs on the website provide exceptional detail for planning your trip. Free.

Updated April 25, 2017
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County of Los Angeles SCV Chamber of Commerce California Travel and Tourism Commission
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