Transcription factors are key regulators of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and act through their ability to bind DNA and impact on gene transcription. Their functions are interpreted in the complex landscape of chromatin, but current knowledge on how this is achieved is very limited. C/EBPα is an important transcriptional regulator of hematopoiesis, but its potential functions in HSCs have remained elusive. Here we report that C/EBPα serves to protect adult HSCs from apoptosis and to maintain their quiescent state. Consequently, deletion of Cebpa is associated with loss of self-renewal and HSC exhaustion. By combining gene expression analysis with genome-wide assessment of C/EBPα binding and epigenetic configurations, we show that C/EBPα acts to modulate the epigenetic states of genes belonging to molecular pathways important for HSC function. Moreover, our data suggest that C/EBPα acts as a priming factor at the HSC level where it actively promotes myeloid differentiation and counteracts lymphoid lineage choice. Taken together, our results show that C/EBPα is a key regulator of HSC biology, which influences the epigenetic landscape of HSCs in order to balance different cell fate options.