Using The Reserve

NOTICE: Big Creek is currently inaccessible to non-residents and non-site-dependent essential work.

There are two closures on Highway 1 impacting Big Creek's entrances (the Circle M Ranch gate at Mile Marker 27 and the Big Creek bridge gate at MM 28). Caltrans has reopened the highway at Rocky Creek, MM 60 but there is still a hard closure at Dolan Point, MM 29.7. Caltrans is allowing resident and essential work-related convoy access through to Big Creek from the south over a slide known as "Paul's Slide", MM 22. Caltrans has estimated this repair to be completed in late summer. Please plan accordingly and contact the reserve director for coordination through the convoy for any site-dependent work purposes. The Regents Slide located at MM 27.6, between the two entrance gates (Big Creek Canyon MM 28 and Circle M Ranch MM 27) has blocked the highway and is estimated to be cleared later in the Fall.

There are two slides and several slip outs along Big Creek's canyon road. It is currently not possible to drive between the canyon entrance (Gatehouse/Visitor Center) and Whale Point, Highlands, etc. without driving around the Santa Lucia Mountains on Highway 101. Hiking is the only option to get between them within the reserve. Driving between them will be possible when the Regents Slide on Highway 1 is cleared, or the canyon road is repaired.

Big Creek Reserve burned in the Dolan Fire December 2020 and experienced debris flows in January 2021 which destroyed campgrounds, roads, and trails. Through 2021-22 some repairs were made so that research and coursework had resumed. Severe rain in January 2023 reversed much of those repairs and washed out the canyon road to Redwood Camp. The crew has been working hard to recover our capacity to support research and teaching. We have our cabins, one campground and a core number of roads and trails open. Please inquire for a status update on access and facilities availability.

Visiting Big Creek Reserve requires an approved application for research or educational purposes. Applications are submitted through the UC Natural Reserve System Reservations System (RAMS).

Apply To Use the Reserve Here

Sign up for a Free Public Docent-led Tour Here





Trail Crew Campaign

The Dolan Fire and subsequent winter storms wreaked havoc on Big Creek’s trail system. A large proportion of what was a 22-mile trail network has been damaged. Our trails provide important access to biological, geological, and cultural diversity that are vital for learning and research. Please help us hire a trail crew for Spring 2024 by giving directly to the effort now. Our October fundraising goal for this campaign is $115,000. 

 If we're successful, watch this space for hiring!



If you would like to give to help with the important recovery process at Big Creek Reserve, please visit our Giving Page for instructions on how to make a donation. 

Shortcuts to  Local Conditions


The Learning Experience

To Support Our Work 

This button leads to a secure donation page