Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

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Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge is a 1.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Salinas, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and fishing and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 1.9 miles Elevation Gain: 13 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips




wild flowers


no dogs

no shade
private property
4 days ago

Very easy hike to the Salinas River and Beach. Great job on the native plant restoration on the sand dune section. I was hoping I might see some of the endangered Smith’s Blue Butterflies but I am probably a month early as the Buckwheat is not blooming yet. There are some side trails to the river where you can see birds. The dirt road through a farm to get to the trailhead is pretty bad with clay mud which is either impassible mud in the rainy season or rock hard clay in the summer. Recommend coming in a truck, jeep, or SUV. Parking lot is tiny and crowded and easy to get trapped in if someone parks incorrectly behind you. Overall a nice easy hike with a nice beach and dunes.

It was fun to do once but don't need to go again. The road to the parking lot is a bit muddy (even without recent rain, the agricultural areas were being watered, which created mud.) A majority of the beach trail is on sand. I did see the skeleton of a medium-sized animal. Not sure what kind of animal killed it, but I did get a little nervous. I think this walk would be better for people looking to explore the birds than folks hoping to enjoy nature.

Mon Dec 26 2016

Access road is only accessible using a hardcore 4WD