The official website of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Hiking at Elkhorn Slough

There are several places to hike and explore in the Elkhorn Slough.
Visit our Slough Access Map for a full listing of access points.

The Reserve
The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve has 5 miles of hiking trails that meander through a variety of habitats from oak woodlands to mudflats. The Reserve does not allow dogs or bikes on the trails. Click here for a map of the trails.

Moss Landing Wildlife Area
This area located just north of Moss Landing on the East side of Highway 1. There is a short, easy trail that is adjacent to the main channel of the Slough. This is a great spot to watch sea otters, harbor seals, and migrating birds.

Kirby Park
There is a Slough-side boardwalk that is the only wheelchair (and stroller) accessible trail at the Slough.


Handicap accessibility

  • The Reserve's Visitor Center is fully accessible. They have accessible restrooms as well as an accessible Research and Education Lab. There is a short paved trail to an overlook area, but the rest of the trails are composed of uneven terrain not suitable for most wheelchairs and strollers.
  • Kirby Park has the only wheelchair accessible slough-side trail.
  • Moss Landing State Beach has a paved road that is adjacent to the Slough for birding and otter viewing.
  • Moss Landing Harbor (north of bridge) has a paved parking area with a cement path adjacent to the Slough for birding, otter viewing and a great view of California sea lions.
  • Other parks in the area offer limited paved and accessible areas.

Dog friendly areas

There are many areas (like the Reserve) that do not allow dogs due to bird nesting and other wildlife concerns. See our access map for dog friendly areas. Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge's Dog Brochure lists dog friendly areas in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.


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This site is maintained by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation in partnership with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve