Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is a
field laboratory for scientific research and estuarine
education. The 1400-acre Reserve, a hub of activity,
contains the largest tract of tidal salt marsh in California
outside of San Francisco Bay.
This ecological reserve
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
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. They offer tours on the weekends
(see below) and special events throughout the year.
Beyond the Reserve
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, riding, and fishing are not allowed on the
grounds, and there are no boat launches on the Reserve
however - in and around the main channel, out on the open
ocean, and along the coast - opportunities for other views
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
five state beaches, several parks and preserves and two
wildlife areas nearby, the Elkhorn Slough area offers a wide
range of fishing spots, equestrian trails, camping
facilities and picnic grounds. At the Moss Landing Wildlife
Area, seasonal hunting for water fowl is permitted.
places provide excellent opportunities for birding. But for
an offbeat birding experience, check out the Moonglow Dairy
on Dolan Rd (633-4637). For reasons that are unclear, a
number of uncommon birds like the Mongolian Plover, Little
Stint, Siberian Wagtail and Yellow-headed blackbird like to
congregate around the dairy's catch basins.
you're ready for a relaxing meal in a bustling harbor town,
Moss Landing sits at the mouth of the slough, where the
Pacific Ocean rushes in at high tide. A prominent whaling
center in the 19th Century and again in the 1920s, Moss
Landing is home to 200 pleasure boats, 400 commercial
fishing vessels and two marine research institutes today.
Antique lovers should leave time to poke around the shops
along Sandholt and Moss Landing roads.
enticed by the open sea, Tom's SportFishing has open parties
and private charters for albacore, salmon and rock cod
Hunting and Fishing
Hunting is allowed in certain parts of the Elkhorn Slough
during the waterfowl season..
information, please contact the Monterey Office of the
California Department of Fish and Game or your local bait