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Ecology: Desert Wildlife
Watchable Wildlife Areas
Haiwee Mule Deer Winter RangeDescription
This area on the edge of the Owens Valley in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains was designated as a Watchable Wildlife site opportunities to view a portion of the East Monache mule deer herd. As winter moves in, deer move down from the mountains to the Haiwee, Cottonwood and Long Valley winter ranges in the valley bottom, at about 4,000 feet above sea level. Here they can forage on diverse grasses and forbs and find water in hidden springs.
The largest of these three winter ranges, Haiwee runs about 30 miles along the base of the Sierras between Olancha Creek and Five Mile Canyon. About 600-700 deer spend there winters here. Sizable numbers of deer move into a series of major canyons that extend upward from the desert floor, and move down to the desert flat to forage during the early morning and late evening, and throughout many nights.
Animals you may see here
Most of the deer wintering here are Inyo mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus inyoensis).
While deer viewing is the main attraction here, visitors may also see raptors such as golden eagles, prairie falcons, northern harriers and red-tailed hawks.
Viewing tips for this area
From the Los Angeles area and other points south: Take Highway 395 or Highway 14 north to where they meet. Take Highway 395 north from that junction about 32 miles. Turn left (west) onto Haiwee Canyon Road. Drive 1.3 miles west to viewing area.
From Bishop and points north: Take 395 south; five miles past Olancha, turn right (west) onto Sage Flat Road. Drive 1.3 miles to viewing area.
Size: About 37,000 acres.