Public Access

Many visitors ask how they can come back to Big Creek if they don’t have a research project or are not in the field of education. The reserve provides a wide variety of experiences due to its inherent nature and the stewardship we apply here. The following scheduled events are availabe for visiting and volunteering.

NOTICE: Due to Covid-19 restrictions, fire-caused safety hazards, and flood/debris flow damages, all public events are on hold until further notice.

Please check back here for updates

Docent Tours

Big Creek Reserve is one of five University of California Santa Cruz Natural Reserves that supports scientific research and hands-on training to university students in the ecological and environmental sciences. Public entry into the reserve is limited to organized, educational tours and events.

Due to VDocent-led tours are filled via electronic reservation. 

Annual Open House

Open House is the only day of the year that the Reserve is open to unguided public visitation. On the scheduled day, you are welcome to visit, learn what we do, meet the staff, and explore the reserve. 

Volunteer Events

While we work hard towards being good caretakers, there are many tasks that need to be done that our staff simply can't do without extra help. Volunteering is a way for people concerned with the above issues to learn about these aspects of land management while helping to keep Big Creek as pristine as possible. By integrating maintenance tasks into our long term vision of land stewardship, we provide our volunteers with a hands-on learning opportunity and hopefully the satisfaction gained by being a part of a concerted effort to protect Big Creek Reserve. 

To join our contact list, please send an email to

If you would like more information, please call Mark Readdie at the Big Creek Reserve office:
(831) 667-2543.