Channel your inner Taylor Lautner, wait is he even relevant anymore? Whether you’re Team Jacob or Team Edward, there’s a Wolf Sanctuary in Lucerne Valley, California, east of San Bernardino.
Perfect for an offbeat day trip in Southern California!
How to Get There: By car. It is a little difficult to get to since there are roads that are less traveled and a hidden dirt path. You can’t enter in the address into Google Maps since you will most likely lose reception and the place is not easily found. Instead, follow the GPS coordinates provided to you after you make your reservations.
Tip: You can download Google Maps ahead of time and use it offline when you lose signal.
What You Need to Do: Aforementioned, you need to call and make reservations. More information about your visit on their website here. There is a $25 mandatory donation fee to help provide and maintain the wolves. You can also bring treats for them as well, we brought carrots.
What to Expect:
- Meet and greet the wolves. Cameras are highly encouraged (just remember to turn off flash!)
- Learn the history of the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary
- Tour the Vicinity
Judging by the reviews online, I got to see both sides of the experience. On the surface, it’s great if you want to interact with wolves but also I can see why people call it “Wolf Mountain Scamtuary”.
After a 2 hour drive from Orange County to Lucerne Valley, my friend and I arrived on time to our appointment, checked in, and was told to wait by the chairs. We sat around waiting for others to join us and began to just observe everything that was happening around us. Aside from the wolves, there were other animals on site too, such as a cat.
We started off our 1 hour tour with meeting the wolf and taking turns petting it and taking pictures with it. The other party in our group got to go first and had such awesome photos with it. However, when it was our turn, the wolf was uninterested and decided to lay down and fall asleep. You never know what type of mood they will be in so prepare for all outcomes. I suggest trying to go first if there are other people in your party. I didn’t get the photos that I wanted to take but I had to make do.
After about 20 minutes or so, we moved onto the tour. The tour around the vicinity was like walking around a zoo, looking through cages at the wolves, with a tour guide to tell the story behind each wolf. Most of the wolves are saved from after Hollywood movie productions or from people who tried to raise and domesticate wolves illegally. These wolves had to find refuge somewhere and Wolf Mountain Sanctuary is their new found home.
The overall experience took about an hour, give or take. The experience is unique if you want to get up close with a real wolf but can be a little disorganized. Every visit is a mixed bag, you will never know which tour guide you will be getting and the quality of the experience.
How to decide whether or not Wolf Mountain Sanctuary is worth the visit for you:
If you like the zoo and you love wolves, give Wolf Mountain Sanctuary a visit.
If you are sensitive about animals and believe that animals shouldn’t be locked up in cages even if they will be helpless and die out in the wild, avoid Wolf Mountain Sanctuary at all costs.