It is important to investigate the soil organic carbon reserves of the northern Tibetan Plateau for understanding the global carbon cycle. The surface soil carbon storage is 1.27×108 t, and the surface topsoil organic carbon density is 4.96×103 t/km2 in the study area. Compared with the results of the second National Soil Census, the distribution of organic carbon reserves of chestnut soil, sierozem, alpine steppe soil, swamp soil, sandy soil and ustic cambisols increased gradually, which are mainly distributed in savanes of the northern Qinghai Lake and woodland in middle-high mountain areas of the eastern Qinghai Lake; savanes and woodland are classified as the carbon sink area because this area’s carbon sequestration is greater than the release quantity. By contrast, the distribution of organic carbon reserves of mountain meadow soil, alpine meadow soil, grey cinnamon soil, chernozem and anthropogenic-alluvial soil decreased gradually, which are mainly distributed in the farming areas of eastern Qinghai Province. This area’s carbon sequestration is less than the release quantity because of cultivation effect, and is classified as the carbon source area. The 97.5% of organic carbon storage cumulative frequency is closed to the threshold value of the organic carbon saturation. The carbon sequestration potential of the study area is 241.57×106 t. Take the widely distributed chestnut soil as a case, it will take 18.66 years to reach saturation for the soil organic carbon reserves of chestnut soil.