Using The Reserve

NOTICE: Big Creek is currently inaccessible from the north and with limited access from the south.
There are three closures on Highway 1 impacting Big Creek's entrances (see map here). Caltrans estimates it will have the highway north of Big Creek open by May 27. At that time, driving to the Big Creek canyon entrance will be possible. 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". Caltrans has estimated this repair to be completed in late summer. Please plan accordingly and contact the reserve director for coordination through the convoy. The Regents Slide located between the two entrance gates (Canyon and Circle M Ranch) has blocked the highway and is estimated to be cleared by early 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. 

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