The Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southwestern San Joaquin Valley foothills of Kern County, California. Elevations on the Refuge range from 1,600 to 4,680 feet. Purchased to protect dwindling California condor foraging and roosting habitat in 1985, the 14,097-acre refuge is the site where the last wild female condor was trapped in 1986.
Today, the reintroduced condors feed and roost on the refuge. The refuge is an integral part of the Service's condor monitoring activities. The most notable physical features of the refuge are the San Andreas Fault, which bisects the refuge, and the dramatic Bitter Creek Canyon.
In addition to the California condor, the Bitter Creek Refuge provides grassland, oak woodland, chaparral, pinion pine/juniper/oak woodland, and riparian and wetland habitat for Federally-listed endangered San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, giant kangaroo rat, and species of Federal concern such as western spade foot toad, western horned lizard, and tri-colored blackbird.
Other terrestrial species on the refuge include coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, tule elk, and western rattlesnake. A total of 119 bird species have been recorded on the refuge including 90 migratory species.
Map + Directions
The refuge is closed to public use. The refuge is administered by Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The refuge complex main office is located off-refuge at 2493 Portola Road, Suite A, in Ventura, California.