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Organization Title

Tule Elk State Natural Reserve

Contact Information

(661) 764-6881

Park Hours

8:00am to Sunset

Driving Directions to Tule Elk SNR

The reserve is north of Gorman, south of Buttonwillow. From north- or southbound I-5, take the Stockdale Highway exit and go west to Morris Av. Turn left; continue and road becomes Station Rd after a right-only turn. Park entrance is on the left.

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Camping and Lodging

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Brochures and Campground Maps

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

Tule Elk State Natural Reserve Closed for Major Renovation

Tule Elk State Natural Reserve will be closed to the public Sept. 1, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016 for a major renovation of the day use area. All interpretive programs during this time period will also be cancelled.

View the news release:

Tule Elk State Natural Reserve protects a small herd of tule elk, once in danger of extinction. In the 1800's, the vast herds of tule elk were greatly reduced in number by hunting and loss of habitat.

In 1874 cattleman Henry Miller began efforts to save them.  At that time few elk remained. In 1932, the herd was given permanent protection on the land now known as Tule Elk State Natural Reserve.

Elk from the reserve have been successfully transplanted to other areas in California.  Today nearly 4000 tule elk are again free roaming the foothills and grasslands of California.

The elk are most active from late summer through early autumn. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars for better viewing.

The park has a picnic area that offers an excellent  opportunity to observe birds of San Joaquin Valley.  Interpretive exhibits may be viewed to the south and east of the comfort station.
 Tule Elk YouTube Video

a male tule elk.

Tule Elk swiming


The reserve is 20 miles west of Bakersfield off of Stockdale Highway west of I-5, in the vicinity of Buttonwillow.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended clothing
The weather can be changeable; Extreme heat during summer months, cold foggy winter weather.
layered clothing is recommended.

Available Activities and Facilities at Tule Elk State Natural Reserve

Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Drinking Water Available