Birding

Birding at Inyo Craters

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  • This loop provides a fascinating mix of relatively recent geological history—the craters are only 600 years old—with the potential for viewing a good range of bird species. Starting from the far (north) end of the Inyo Craters parking area, follow the trail up about a half mile to the edge of the first crater. As you climb through the enormous Jeffrey pines, keep an eye out for some of our year-round resident birds, such as the Steller's jay, the mountain chickadee and the dark-eyed junco. Listen for the calls of the red-breasted nuthatch and the northern flicker. Follow the trail carefully along the edge of the first crater to the second. If you're lucky, you may spot some migratory waterfowl enjoying the unexpected water here: eared grebes or mallards or ruddy ducks. On the steep, treed slopes inside the crater, watch for Cassin's finches and red crossbills. At the railing along the larger crater you may catch a pine siskin or a pygmy nuthatch or a flock of band-tailed pigeons flying by. Enjoy a picnic or a rest at the picnic tables here before following the trail back to the parking area. Listen for woodpecker calls or drumming on your way down. There's a good chance you'll see a hairy woodpecker, a white-headed woodpecker, or a Williamson's sapsucker.

  • This loop provides a fascinating mix of relatively recent geological history—the craters are only 600 years old—with the potential for viewing a good range of bird species. Starting from the far (north) end of the Inyo Craters parking area, follow the trail up about a half mile to the edge of the first crater. As you climb through the enormous Jeffrey pines, keep an eye out for some of our year-round resident birds, such as the Steller's jay, the mountain chickadee and the dark-eyed junco. Listen for the calls of the red-breasted nuthatch and the northern flicker. Follow the trail carefully along the edge of the first crater to the second. If you're lucky, you may spot some migratory waterfowl enjoying the unexpected water here: eared grebes or mallards or ruddy ducks. On the steep, treed slopes inside the crater, watch for Cassin's finches and red crossbills. At the railing along the larger crater you may catch a pine siskin or a pygmy nuthatch or a flock of band-tailed pigeons flying by. Enjoy a picnic or a rest at the picnic tables here before following the trail back to the parking area. Listen for woodpecker calls or drumming on your way down. There's a good chance you'll see a hairy woodpecker, a white-headed woodpecker, or a Williamson's sapsucker.

  • Experience Checklist

    • A good eye
    • Binoculars
    • Insect repellent
    • Local bird guide
    • Notebook
    • Spotting Scope
    • Sunglasses
    • Sun hat
    • Sunscreen/lip protector
    • Wildlife-identification guide

    Public Services

    Experience Information

    Trail Length
    0.8 miles
    Trail Surface
    Soil
    Duration
    Less than 4 hours

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Inyo Craters

  • Hours/Season: All day | Summer Fall 

  • Hiking  Interpretive  Photography  Vista Viewing 

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