Smithneck Creek Wildlife Area


The approximately 1,400-acre Smithneck Creek Wildlife Area consists of a variety of habitats typical of the east side of the Sierra. The sagebrush-bitterbrush habitat is a critical deer winter-range area for migratory deer. Limited stands of yellow pine, mountain mahogany and juniper provide additional habitat for resident deer. Wet and dry meadows are found along Bear Valley Creek. Riparian habitat consisting of alders, willows and aspen provide cover along Bear Valley, Smithneck and Badenaugh Creeks for both game and non-game wildlife.

Some of the species which may be viewed include goshawks, falcons, a variety of warbler species, and snowshoe hares. Mountain lion tracks are often seen imprinted in muddy areas near streams.

For more information, call the North Central Region's Rancho Cordova office at (916) 358-2900.

Recreational Opportunities

Fishing Hiking Trails Wildlife Viewing Deer Hunting Black Bear Hunting Quail Hunting

Activities: fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, photography, and hunting

The area provides access to extensive public lands such as the Tahoe National Forest. Be aware of posted private lands.

Hunting: Deer, bear, rabbit, quail, and dove may be present. Opportunities are limited by the safety considerations for residents of the Sierra Brooks Subdivision, which is bordered on three sides by the Wildlife Area.

Type C: Smithneck Creek 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.

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

Nearby Loyalton, the largest town in Sierra Valley, grew largely from farming and lumbering interests that began about 1863. The Smithneck Creek Wildlife Area was a part of those livestock and lumbering interests. After acquisition by Occidental Land, grazing rights were leased to local operators until development of the Sierra Brooks subdivision property began to occur. The wildlife area in the last century has been grazed by livestock or left as undisturbed open space. The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1988.

Smithneck Creek WA location - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


North Central Region (Region 2)

Sierra County

approximately 1 mile southeast of Loyalton and 3 miles south of State Route 49 surrounding the Sierra Brooks subdivision

Access: All 3 units of this Wildlife Area can be reached by taking Smithneck Road south from Highway 49 at Loyalton. The northern unit lies along Smithneck Road. The western unit can be reached by turning west onto Antelope Valley Road from Smithneck Road. To reach the eastern unit, turn east onto Badenaugh Canyon Road from Smithneck Road.

Topographic Map (PDF)

CDFW Lands Viewer