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Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing, California

Elkhorn Slough is an ecological reserve that provides habitat for plants and animals, including more than 340 species of birds, and is a major fish nursery for the region. There are more than 7000 acres of protected lands in the Elkhorn Slough watershed that include 3600 acres protected or managed by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and another 3400 owned by agencies such as The Nature Conservancy.

Visited by thousands every year, the Reserve hosts many programs that promote education, research, and conservation in Elkhorn Slough. The Visitor Center has award-winning exhibits that invite everyone to explore the Unseen Slough. There are five miles of trails that meander through beautiful oak woodlands, calm tidal creeks and freshwater marshes. The Reserve offer tours on the weekends and special events throughout the year.

Visitors to the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve can learn a lot about what the slough has to offer. The Reserve is dedicated to preservation so camping, picnicking, bike riding, and fishing are not allowed on the grounds.

A favorite way to see the slough is in a kayak or canoe. Paddling just above the water level, you can come face to face with a mischievous sea otter swimming on its back, a harbor seal lounging in the mud, or a grebe about to dive for fish. There are no boat launches on the Reserve itself, but it is easy to launch small watercraft at nearby Kirby Park or at either Moss Landing City Beach or Moss Landing State Beach. Both have protected sides facing the bay. For larger boats there is a boat launch just off Highway 1 just north of the bridge over the slough.

1700 Elkhorn Rd
Watsonville, CA 95076

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