Tule Elk State Natural Reserve

Phone Number

(661) 764-6881

Park Hours

9:00am to Sunset

Dogs Allowed?

Dogs allowed in the visitor center area. Prefer dogs not allowed on the reserve during the Auto Safari tours, even if only staying in the vehicle.

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.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

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

The Tule Elk State Natural Reserve protects a small herd of tule elk, once in danger of extinction. In the 1800s, 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 tule elk remained. In 1932, the herd was given permanent protection on the land now known as the Tule Elk State Natural Reserve.

Elk from the reserve have been successfully transplanted to other areas in California.  Today approximately 5,700 tule elk are again roaming the foothills and grasslands of California.

The tule 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 the 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.