Dales Lake Ecological Reserve


Geologically recent lava flows combined with older alluvial deposits give rise to extensive, gently sloping terraces comprising the Dales Plains. This terrain supports abundant vernal pools. The 367 acres of Dales Lake property is largely open grasslands on the southern end. On the northern end is blue oak – foothill pine woodland.

The vernal pools of this area support a unique flora and fauna, including dozens of plant species that do not occur in any other type of habitat, as well as tadpole and fairy shrimp that are only found in vernal pools. Migrating waterfowl stop here to feast on the seasonal invertebrates. Deer and other grassland grazers can also be spotted.

For more information, call the Northern Region Redding office at (530) 225-2300.

Recreational Opportunities

Wildlife Viewing Waterfowl Hunting

Activities: Wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and hunting

Hunting: Waterfowl may be present

Facilities: None

NOTE: Visitors are responsible for knowing and complying with all regulations pertaining to the use of Department lands.

Refer to the Public Uses on State and Federal Lands section of the Waterfowl, Upland Game, and Public Use Regulations (PDF) booklet for both statewide and property-specific regulations.

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You may not operate a drone on CDFW Lands without a Special Use Permit.

Area History

In 1992-1993, a 42-inch, 845-mile-long natural gas pipeline was constructed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), stretching from northeastern to central California. As partial mitigation for vernal pool destruction along the pipeline right-of-way, PG&E agreed to acquire and enhance vernal pool habitat. PG&E bought a triangular snippet of wetland habitat in Tehama County from a local rancher and transferred ownership to the Department in 1993. The area was designated as an ecological reserve by the Fish and Game Commission in 1994.

Map of Dales Lake ER - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


Northern Region (Region 1)

Tehama County

11 miles northeast of Red Bluff

Access: From Red Bluff, travel east on Highway 36 for approximately 11 miles; at Dales Station, turn left on Manton Road; the Reserve is located 1/2 mile past Dales Station on the west side of the road.

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