Round Valley Wildlife Area


The Round Valley Wildlife Area is composed of two management units: 1) the northern 272-acre Swall Meadows Unit located in Mono County at 6,000 feet in elevation at the foot of the dramatic Wheeler Crest, and 2) the lower elevation Pine Creek Unit (100 acres) in Round Valley, Inyo County to the south. The primary purpose for the wildlife area is to provide high quality winter range, migration corridor, and spring holding area habitats for mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus ssp. hemionus) of the Round Valley herd. This herd, which occupies one of the most popular deer hunt zones in the state (X9A), has experienced significant population fluctuations over the last 25-years with habitat loss associated with residential development and wildfire identified as significant threats.

The wildlife area supports the water birch thickets, a sensitive natural community, along perennial creeks and upland areas of sagebrush-bitterbrush scrub. Bitterbrush occurs in dense stands along drainages, around meadow edges, and on well-drained alluvial fans and is an important food source for deer in winter and spring.

For more information, call the Inland Deserts Region's Bishop office at (760) 872-1171.

Recreational Opportunities

Wildlife Viewing fishing hiking shotgun hunting rabbit hunting deerhunting quail hunting

Activities: wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking, hunting.

Hunting: Quail, upland birds, cottontail, and deer may be present.

Type C: Round Valley Wildlife Area does not require the purchase of a hunting pass for entry. Entry permits and/or passes or special drawing may be required for hunting on some Type C wildlife areas.

Fishing: Pine Creek Unit

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 (Swall Meadows Unit)

Swall Meadows, originally “Sherwin Meadow”, was homesteaded by James Sherwin due to the abundance of large Jeffrey pines as a source for lumber which was hauled down to his mill on Rock Creek in Round Valley by wagon. Portions of these wagon roads can still be seen today.

Residential development in the community of Swall Meadows in the 1980s and 90s began to encroach on a critical mule deer migration route between the low elevation winter range in Round Valley and summer ranges in the Sierra Nevada. This migration route is topographically constrained between the dramatic Wheeler Ridge and Rock Creek canyon. After a significant population decline was observed in the early 1990s, residential subdivision in the corridor was identified as a key factor limiting herd size and viability. As a result the Department and partners such as Eastern Sierra Land Trust began to evaluate the acquisition of property and easements from willing sellers in the corridor to alleviate the problem. Herd numbers have since recovered however maintaining an adequate migration corridor remains an important priority.

The Department first acquired property in Swall Meadows in 1997 and has added a number of parcels since. The Department owned lands in Swall Meadows were designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 2020. The primary purpose for the wildlife area is to provide high quality migration corridor and spring holding area habitats for mule deer.

Area History (Pine Creek Unit)

The Pine Creek property was used for agriculture for many years before being proposed for subdivision and development in the 1990s. The parcel provided irrigated pasture for livestock and packstock associated with the nearby Tungsten mine at the head of Pine Creek Canyon. Irrigation practices continue today to maintain meadow and riparian habitats on the property which provide cover and browse for mule deer.

The Owens Valley Paiute people are known to have occupied the area along Pine Creek in the Round Valley and practiced irrigated agriculture prior to Euro-American settlement.

The Department acquired the property in 2015, and it was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 2020. The primary purpose for the wildlife area is to provide high quality winter range habitat for mule deer.

Round Valley WA - click to enlarge in new window
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Inland Deserts Region (Region 6)

Mono / Inyo County


  • (Pine Creek) Follow Pine Creek Road 3 miles west of US Route 395. Parking is available at the west end of the property on unpaved roads.
  • (Swall Meadows) From the community of Swall Meadows travel south on Valley View Road to the intersection with Rimrock Drive.

Unit Maps: Pine Creek (PDF), Swall Meadows (PDF)

CDFW Lands Viewer