South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (South Slough Reserve) manages nearly 7,000 acres of natural areas along the Coos estuary on the south coast of Oregon. The Reserve was designated in 1974 as the first unit of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), a network of estuary habitats protected and managed for the purposes of long-term research, education, and coastal stewardship.
Established by Congress in 1972 as part of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), the NERRS is administered as a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the coastal states. In Oregon, the South Slough Reserve is affiliated with both NOAA and the Oregon Department of State Lands. The Reserve's immediate governing body is the South Slough NERR Management Commission whose members are appointed by the Governor of Oregon.
The South Slough Reserve encompasses a mixture of open water channels, tidal and freshwater wetlands, riparian areas and forested uplands. The reserve supports and coordinates research, education and stewardship programs that serve to enhance a scientific and public understanding of estuaries and contribute to improved estuarine management. Since 1974, South Slough Reserve has grown in the depth and scope of its programs and has developed facilities to meet the needs of visitors and staff.
There are 11 trails of various lengths, inclines, and terrains around South Slough Reserve. Each trail offers a different perspective of the coastal wetlands, forests, and rivers that make up South Slough Reserve. Check out our
brochure and trail map to plan your trip. Please watch for ground hornets nests if you are planning on hiking our trails.
The Big Cedar Trail(0.25 mi.) is wheelchair accessible (with assistance). The key for the gate to this trail can be requested at the front desk of the Visitor Center during open hours. After use, the gate key needs to be returned to the front desk by 3:45 pm (same day). The gate access key is reserved for persons with mobility disabilities only. Learn more.
Latest Updates from the Reserve