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 variety of educational experiences due to its inherent nature and the stewardship we apply here. The following scheduled events are availabe for visiting and volunteering.

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 students in the fields of physical and biological sciences, social sciences and the humanities. A broader network of UC's living laboratories and outdoor classrooms available to educational organizations worldwide. Public entry into Big Creek Reserve is organized through educational tours and events.

Sign up for a free docent-led tour here. 

Annual Open House

NOTE: since the Dolan Fire of 2020 our roads and trails have experienced erosion, overgrowth and washouts that have severely impacted safe access across the reserve. We hope to get back to the open house tradition when we have more to offer. In the meantime, we offer the docent tours described above. 

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.