The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is 1700 acres and located at the east end of the Slough, inland from Moss Landing. It is one of many access points to the Slough, but is a great first stop when planning your visit. The Visitor Center is home to fun and informative exhibits, a nature bookstore, and is staffed with knowledgeable naturalists who can answer your questions. There are picnic tables, restrooms and hiking trails.
Docent-led tours are Saturday and Sundays at 10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m. There is also a special birding tour the first Saturday of each month at 8:30 a.m. Find out more about tours and bringing groups to the Reserve.
Reserve and Visitor Center hours:
Wednesday - Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Reserve and Visitor Center are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. When the Reserve is closed you cannot access the trails, restrooms, or visitor center.
Admission is free to the Visitor Center, restrooms and picnic area. To walk the trails there is a $4.12 day-use fee (credit cards only) for adults 16 and older; children are free; entry is also free with a California hunting or fishing license. An annual CDFW Lands pass is available for $22.92.
Binoculars are available for loan. There is no extra charge for tours. Admission is free to the Visitor Center and picnic areas.
Dogs and bicycles are NOT allowed on any of the Reserve trails. Dogs should not be left in cars while you hike the trails.
You can NOT launch a boat or kayak at the Reserve. Fishing and hunting are not allowed at the Reserve.
There is a short paved trail to an overlook that is wheelchair accessible – the rest of the trails are dirt, gravel or grass. There are wheelchair accessible bathrooms, visitor center and offices.
The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is located at 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, CA 95076 (map and directions). There is no city or county bus service to the Elkhorn Slough Reserve.