Hike Elkhorn Slough in Monterey

Hike Elkhorn Slough Reserve

Enjoy Quiet Hikes and Wildlife at Elkhorn Slough Reserve in Monterey

woman hiking 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.

pelican flying at Elkhorn Slough Reserve

woman on bench at Elkhorn Slough Reserve

Elkhorn Slough Reserve

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.

Elkhorn Slough Reserve

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.

Elkhorn Slough Reserve

flowers at Elkhorn Slough

woman hiking Elkhorn Slough Reserve

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.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. From Town to Falls

    Mount Tam’s Cascade Falls is a bit under the radar, tucked back off a residential area in Mill Valley. Some people drive up to the tiny parking lot nearest to the falls. Do an easy 3-mile (round-trip) hike right from downtown Mill Valley, weaving through quiet streets and secret trails.

  2. The Carson Show

    Carson Falls is ready for primetime. This three-tiered, 100-foot stunner is hidden back in a canyon outside of Fairfax and reached on a 3.25-mile (round-trip) hike.

  3. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park waterfall hike in Sonoma Valley

    Sweet as Sugarloaf

    Right in the heart of wine country there’s plenty more than wine flowing right now, with an oft unheralded waterfall that surges to an exuberant spectacle from all the recent rain.

  4. Sponsored

    Sonoma Valley's 100 Days of Winter Wellness Guide

    This winter wellness plan goes to 100! Nurture yourself in 2024 with Sonoma Valley’s 100 Days of Winter Wellness guide. It’s a perfectly curated array of inspiration and ideas.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. A woman stands at Dante's View in Death Valley, looking out to Telescope Peak and Manly Lake, Badwater Basin below.

    Sunset Hike (and Manly Lake Vista!) at Dante's View

    It’s one of the world’s best places to watch a sunset. Dante’s View is a 5,476-foot vantage of the whole southern basin of Death Valley from the top of the Black Mountains. On clear days you get views of both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous U.S. 

  2. Skull On!

    Temescal Canyon not only has epic views, it's got a waterfall right now, one that only shows after big rains. Head out on this 4.6-mile loop.

  3. Woman hiking on the trail at Trebek Open Space in Los Angeles County

    Trebek Open Space

    While most hikers head over to adjacent Runyon Canyon, instead do the 2-mile hike at Trebek Open Space and pay your respects to the legendary Jeopardy host and philanthropist, Alex Trebek.

  4. Woman on Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes at Death Valley National Park

    Starry Night & Dark Sky Adventures

    You don’t have to stay out all that late to experience eminent stargazing at Death Valley National Park. The park's been given the highest ranking of darkness by the International Dark-Sky Association. Here are a trio of amazing ways to witness the mesmerizing night sky at Death Valley: