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Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve

Photo by M Rejmanek
Burned stairs


The Reserve is currently open. Conditions continue to be very muddy. Please respect the resource - hiking in rain or wet conditions will compromise the trails.

We at the UC Davis Natural Reserve System extend our thanks for all the community support since the 2015 fire. With the assistance of donors and volunteers, we have repaired most of the trail damage. The reserve still has a long way to go, and soils, plants and wildlife are still fragile. We ask everyone to tread lightly, stay on trails, and pack out all waste. Be on the lookout for research project infrastructure, the sign that scientists are making the most of the fire to learn about its effects on our regional ecosystems.

Parking and access to the site are changing. Follow the signs to the new parking and access trail. Be aware that there is no water at the site. Because Stebbins Cold Canyon is a research and teaching preserve, dogs are not allowed on the trail.

Learn more about the post-fire recovery at Stebbins Cold Canyon here.

For ideas on other hikes in the region, see

We request that hikers respect trail closures as we undertake site assessment and repair. If you are interested in volunteering for trail restoration workdays (already underway), please contact Paul Havemann.

The reserve remains open to authorized researchers. Please contact the reserve director for information on entry to the site.

Donate to the restoration effort!
Your gift will help us purchase materials needed to complete trail renovations before reopening. The community has already contributed more than $5,000 to this effort - thank you! Click here to go to the gift form dedicated to Stebbins Cold Canyon trail restoration.

About the reserve

The UC Davis Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve, set in a steep canyon of the northern California Coast Range, showcases the impressive landscapes, human history, and plant and animal communities of the region. The reserve has a mix of undisturbed habitats, including grasslands, blue oak woodland, chaparral shrublands, riparian woodland, and a seasonal stream.

The University maintains the reserve primarily as a site for teaching and research activities. Before working on or bringing a class group to the reserve, please fill out a use application. In most cases, your application will be processed within one business day.

About the Natural Reserve System

The mission of the University of California Natural Reserve System (NRS) is to contribute to the understanding and wise management of the Earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research, and public service at protected natural areas throughout California. In 1965, the University of California began creating a network of protected sites that would represent California’s rich ecological diversity.

These outdoor classrooms and laboratories make long-term studies of California’s natural environment possible. Most NRS reserves are closed to the public to protect research projects from disturbance – Stebbins Cold Canyon is a rare exception where research, teaching and public access coexist. The NRS is the largest university-operated system of natural reserves in the world. The NRS reserves are used by students, teachers, and researchers from the University of California, and from educational institutions around the world. Help us protect the educational mission of this site by respecting all signs of research activity (flagging, plots, marked plants, insect traps, etc.) that you may see along the trails.