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Visiting the Reserve

Sign with green wetlands beyond itSouth Slough Reserve is open to the public most days of the year. Visitors can walk or hike one of our many trails, meander by kayak or canoe down a water channel, marvel at native species, learn about the history of the area, and even volunteer to help protect and maintain the Reserve. Community classes are also available.

Cell service may be nonexistent in the South Slough, so plan accordingly. 


The Reserve is a diverse environment made up of forests, salt marshes, mudflats, and channels of weaving waterways. All these elements play a crucial role in the estuary ecosystem, sustaining food webs which allow native plants like eelgrass, saltgrass, and pickleweed to thrive and provide for animals like crabs, salmon, reptiles, birds, and mammals big and small.

During a visit you may spot beavers and river otters around streams, a rich assemblage of moss and fungi along the forest floor, deer or elk along the banks, or migratory birds nestled among the salt marshes.

Visitor Center and Restrooms

Stop by the Visitor Center to learn or rest around the fireplace. Exhibits help visitors understand the habitats and wildlife in the Reserve, the history of people in relationship to this land, and the research and stewardship activities occurring at the Reserve. Trail maps are available at the Visitor Center and Reserve staff are there to answer your questions.

The Visitor Center and restrooms, handicap accessible and located just outside the Visitor Center, are open Tuesday–Saturday from 10a.m. – 4p.m.

Current Trail Conditions

  • For safety reasons the Wasson Creek/Theodore Johnson watershed will be closed during restoration activities
  • Closure dates: July 1-2 and July 25-August 25.
  • The South Trail System, including the parking area and road from Hinch road, will be closed during the above dates.
  • Hinch Road and associated watercraft launch will remain open and accessible.
  • All forest activities (e.g., hunting, and mushroom picking) along Hinch road and south to Wasson Creek will not be allowed during closure dates. 

Additional Information

The Big Cedar Trail​ (0.25 mi.) is wheelchair accessible (with assistance) and leads from the lower parking lot to the marsh observation deck. 

The key for the gate to this trail can be requested by calling 541-888-5558 ext. 121. Please leave a message and someone will call you back within 24 hours (Monday-Friday) with appointment availability. The gate access key is reserved for persons with mobility disabilities only.​

Dogs are allowed at the Reserve and must be kept on a leash at all times. Pick up after your dog’s waste and dispose of it in the next available trash can.

There is no camping allowed at the Reserve. Sunset Bay State ParkBullards Beach State Park,​ and Bastendorff Beach County Park​ all provide nearby public camping facilities.

Recreational mushrooms and berry gathering is allowed in the Reserve. Make sure to use a field guide or consult an expert when gathering for eating. Visitors may gather up to one gallon of edible mushrooms a day per-person, for personal use only.

Recreational fishing is allowed at the Reserve. ​Hunting is also ​allowed in certain parts of the Reserve, which can be viewed on the hunting map here​​. ​

All fishing and hunting must follow Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations​, including requirements for licenses and tags.​

 Latest Conditions
Southern Wasson Trail CLOSED
All water trails are OPEN

Hours of operation

Trails and waterways are open daily from dawn to dusk. The Visitor Center and restrooms are open Tues–Sat from 10a.m. - 4p.m. 

Our address

61907 Seven Devils Rd. 
P.O. Box 5417
Charleston, OR 97420


It is free to visit and enjoy the Reserve; however, there are fees associated with some classes and activities.