Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing

#5 of 15 in Things to do in Moss Landing
The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves established nationwide as field laboratories for scientific research and estuarine education. Elkhorn Slough is located approximately 100mi south of San Francisco, California on the central shore of Monterey Bay. The Reserve is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is managed as Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve by the California Department of Fish and Game.
The Mission of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is to ensure the perpetual health of ecosystems in Elkhorn Slough and the surrounding watershed through preservation, restoration, research, information exchange and education with particular emphasis on the Research Reserve. The approximately 1700acre Reserve hosts programs that promote education, research, and conservation in Elkhorn Slough. The award winning visitor center has exhibits and is a trailhead for five miles (8 km) of trails that meander through oak woodlands, calm tidal creeks, and freshwater marshes. It is also a popular spot for kayaking and birding.
The Reserve's visitor center is located at 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, CA 95076.
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Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve Reviews
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264 reviews
  • We have done this paddle several times. You can bring your own kayaks or rent kayaks from Monterey Bay Kayaks at Moss Landing. You will see a variety of animals including otters, sea lions, harbor.....  more »
  • Unfortunately, I’m unable to bring my dog with me. I enjoy the peaceful walk especially when it’s still cool from the morning fog. One of my favorite places for a solo walk.  more »
  • A nice nature preserve with short and long trails around ponds and fjords. Hummingbird Island was a nice walk over the train tracks, with a few hummingbirds flying around (more dragonflies, tho). The visitors center is nice, with lots of things to touch and see, but aside from a lot of benches to sit and enjoy the scenery, there aren't any signs or plaques that explain what's happening or why...
  • The Reserve is a great spot for a short half mile) or long hike (about 2 miles RT), depending on your mood. If you pick the right trail, you might see the local birds, otters, seals, rays, and an occasional shark. Ask the very nice rangers what they’ve seen that day. Check the tides also; best animal and bird viewing is when the tides are up. And don’t forget to wipe your feet before you go out there. They are protecting the native species from foreign cooties.

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