Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

  • Picnic
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking


  • Picnic
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking


3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley, CA, 95948
Sacramento Valley
Info: (530) 846-7500 M-F
Sunrise to Sunset
Not allowed, service animals OK
Last Visited:
April 2021
Located along the Pacific Flyway 40 miles north of Sacramento in Butte County, this 9,200-acre expanse of protected wetlands is a haven for wildlife with more than 300 species of resident and migrant birds and mammals found here. Enjoy miles of trails, bird-watching, and a 3-mile loop driving tour. Best time to visit is Nov-Mar when wildlife is plentiful; summer can be hot and buggy. Be sure to bring binooculars.

A CDFW Land Pass is required for each visitor and should be purchased in advance. All visitors must register at lot #14 (3 miles from main entrance). Rangers actively check for passes.

Trails and Pathways

Wetland Discovery Trail & Flyway Loop Trail
Time to Complete:
1.5 hours
Trailhead Location:
Parking lot #14
Trail Length:
2-4 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Typical Terrain:
Trail Overview: For this hike we combined the asphalt Wetland Discovery Trail with the compacted dirt and gravel Flyway Loop Trail for a 2.5-mile loop hike. To make your hike educational pick up a brochure at the trailhead for the three-quarter mile Wetland Discovery Trail.  The Discovery Trail passes transition zones of ponds, grassy fields and wooded riparian areas. The only benches we saw are by the trailhead overlooking the large permanent pond where you’ll likely see turtles sunning, and also at the ramp to the viewing deck further on.

Past the pond, where the asphalt trail turns left, we instead continued straight on the dirt trail. Both trails meet up again at the elevated viewing platform that overlooks wetlands and where having the place to ourselves, we spent an hour just listening to birdsong and looking at egrets, wood ducks and other wildlife.

After returning to the asphalt trail, at the next junction we turned on to the dirt and gravel Flyway Loop Trail to extend our hike. It meanders by the edges of seasonal and permanent ponds for another 1.5 miles. Look for a short spur trail across from the inaccessible portable restroom that leads to a viewing hide with two accessible viewing spots. A second hide further along the main trail has a large threshold that prevented my powerchair from getting in. Bunnies & lizards scurried across our path as we leisurely strolled back to the parking lot from where we started.

More Info: The 3/4 mile Wetlands Trail is asphalt but the Flyway Loop Trail is dirt & gravel.

Accessibility Features

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking:
Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;

Park at lot #14 to register and reach the Wetland Discovery Trail

Accessible Restroom:
Yes – Located next to the accessible parking space in lot #14. The only other portable unit on our hike is on the Flyway Loop Trail and is noot accessible. 

Accessible Picnic Table:
Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance

Good to Know:
There are seasonal closures for hiking so consult the website for restrictions. Since hunting is allowed at certain times you may hear occasional gunfire.

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