Image of visitor at the UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve.

Putah Creek Riparian Reserve

Putah Creek Riparian Reserve

The UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve is a 640-acre natural riparian and grassland ecosystem that runs along the southern edge of the UC Davis campus. Maintained and operated by the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, the campus utilizes the Reserve for teaching and research purposes, wildlife and habitat protection, and community engagement. Read our FAQ about visiting for more information.

Exploring this natural ecosystem is equivalent to entering a time machine to understand what the UC Davis Arboretum must have been like well before the university arrived. A majority of the land is open to the public for recreational activities such as fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking.

We are extremely fortunate to have the Reserve as a campus resource because, according to the State of California Wildlife Conservation Board, humans have removed, degraded, and disturbed 95% of California’s streamside habitat since the Gold Rush. While the Reserve does have a history of disturbance and alteration by humans, we are making huge strides toward restoring this rare ecosystem. In fact, it is a model for riparian restoration throughout the state and now serves as inspiration for our ongoing Arboretum Waterway Maintenance and Enhancement Project.

Want to visit? Start your walk from one of the Reserve’s trailheads and gain an appreciation of this rare riparian habitat. Read our FAQ about visiting for more information.

Want to support the Reserve? Donate to the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve Support Fund!

Interested in Research and Teaching at the Reserve? Get more information.

Partner links:

Land acknowledgement statement

Photos of the UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve

Teaching and research at UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve