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Hiking Around the Reserve

Two women walk dog on boardwalkThere are many hiking and walking trails located around South Slough Reserve that visitors can access to explore the Reserve’s landscapes and areas of historical significance, as well as to spot wildlife. Most trails are accessible from the Visitor Center. All are reserved for foot traffic only—bikes, ATVs, and horses are not permitted.

Dogs on leash are allowed on trails. Pick up after your dog’s waste and dispose of it in the next available trash can.
Please stay on the trails—help us reduce the impact of human activity in this protected area.

 Do not disturb or remove natural items or artifacts
Rocks, plants, animals, and more have important roles in the Reserve’s complex ecosystem and some have cultural significance to native people. This area has a history that spans thousands of years before the Reserve we know today. If you find an item that may be several decades old, leave it where it is and let a staff member know.

Hiking and Walking Trails

Cell service may be nonexistent in the South Slough, so plan accordingly. Please consult the map and descriptions below.

This wheelchair-accessible trail takes visitors from the lower parking lot to the marsh observation deck. Some parts of the trail may be more difficult to navigate by wheelchair, as parts of the trail are boardwalk and others are gravel and dirt. The trail has a 5% grade.

A gate key is required to access this trail and can be reserved for pickup Tuesday-Saturday (10am-4pm) at the Visitor Center. The key must be turned back in on the same day by 4pm. Please make an appointment to check out a gate key at the Visitor Center by calling 541-888-5558 ext. 121. If you leave a message, you will be called back within 24 hours (M-F) with appointment availability. Please Note: The gate access key is reserved for persons with mobility disabilities only.​​

The Fredrickson trail takes visitors through older forests with a variety of conifers, large ferns, and mosses. Apple and plumb trees marking the corner of the old Frederickson homestead greet visitors along the trail. Access this trail from the parking lot.

Hidden Creek is one of the many small tributaries that contribute to South Slough. This hike follows Hidden Creek and takes visitors to the Skunk Cabbage boardwalk and marsh observation deck. Along the way, you will pass through various features—Douglas firs, spruce, huckleberries, and other trees and shrubs inhabit the uplands, and where the creek drops down into the valley it becomes damper and more lush. Skunk cabbage and alders will indicate the beginning of the freshwater marsh.

This short trail leads you along a small marsh trail that ends at an observation deck overlooking the tide flats, which provide homes for an abundance of plant and animal life. You may see migratory birds, or permanent residents, like the blue heron. Beneath the surface of the tide flats, clams, shrimp, and other animals live buried in the sand. At high tide, the mudflat is feeding ground for perch, salmon, and crabs. To access this hike, take the trail to the right of the education shed.

Middle Creek Trail takes visitors into a dense woodland and across several footbridges lined with deer fern and mossy stumps. To access this trail, take the Ten-Mile loop trail from the front entryway, pass the North Creek trail sign on your left, cross a bridge, pass a clearing on your left, and then connect to Middle Creek Trail.

This is an out and back trail that takes visitors to Sloughside Marsh and back. The trail features a large number of Port Orford cedars.

An ideal wildlife viewing trail, North Creek Trail takes visitors down to Sloughside Marsh. Along the way you will pass numerous native plants, including spruce, alder, sword fern, deer fern, and salmonberry, as well as a forest of Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, and Port Orford cedar. The hike takes you across a large metal bridge crossing Rhodes marsh, where you can stop at a viewing platform to catch the tide coming in or going out and watch for wading birds. To access this trail, take the Ten Minute Loop Trail until you reach the sign for North Creek Trail on your left.​

Follow the grade of an old logging railroad when you take this route. Railroad Trail can be accessed from the Big Cedar parking lot or via the last legs of the Hidden or North Creek trails.

This quick loop is relatively flat and easy to navigate, with a few small hills. A variety of plants line the walkway, including evergreen huckleberry, salal, sword fern as well as native conifers and a few Red Alders. About halfway through the trail is a bridge that overlooks a ridge. A little way after the bridge there is an entrance to a clearing with valley views and a large bat house and wooden benches for sitting and large tree rings for children to climb. Access the trailhead from the Visitor Center.

This trail takes you weaving through a conifer forest until you reach a tunnel created by overhanging huckleberries. The trail takes you to the overlook above the Winchester arm of the slough, where you can feel the ocean breeze as you gaze at the water and spot Oyster plots and old railroad pilings. Reach Tunnel Trail by turning right from the observation deck.

The Wasson Creek Trail takes you through the Wasson Marsh, where you will see evidence of elk and a small footbridge nestled between blackberries. This trail is occasionally closed due to high water. The trailhead is accessible from the Hinch Road trail parking lot, then walking through the gate down the gravel drive, or via the Frederickson Marsh Loop. 


Trails with accessible features: Big Cedar Trail

  Hiking Trails Map

  Become a volunteer trail steward

  Feedback or questions about trail conditions? Contact us!