Hike Elkhorn Slough Reserve
Enjoy Quiet Hikes and Wildlife at Elkhorn Slough Reserve in Monterey
It’s one of the best places to go on a walk and observe one of Monterey’s most treasured ecosystems. Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California’s few remaining coastal wetlands. Marvel at one our state's largest coastal salt marshes, a valued habitat for birds, plant life, sea otters, and marine mammals.
There are picnic areas and 5 miles of trails. We recommend the popular South Marsh Loop trail with the extension to Hummingbird Island. It’s an idyllic way to get a beautiful overview with up-close bonuses of Elkhorn Slough’s tidal creeks, swaying grasslands, oak woodlands, and wondrous wildlife.
Make your first stop the visitor center, where you can get a map and talk to rangers and guides. Then head out on your hike, stopping at the overlook and passing a big rustic barn before descending to the boardwalk and a viewing platform at water’s edge.
Here you can see egrets and shorebirds take flight or mill about in the marsh. Pelicans commonly circle high in the sky, and then 3-2-1—sploosh—suddenly plunge, dive-bombing the water for a meal.
Sea otters are commonly spotted here too.
Follow the trail and get a view of the mudflats, then cross an (active!) railroad to go up a flight of stairs to Hummingbird Island. The island has a beautiful vista of Elkhorn Slough’s main channel.
BONUS MINDFULNESS WALKS AND MORE: Guided events here include Docent-led Weekend Walks, Early Bird Tours, and Mindfulness Walks.
No dogs at Elkhorn Slough Reserve.
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