What are your hours?

Boardwalk area – 10AM to 4PM year-round.

River Walk & Wetlands Walk – Sunrise to sunset year-round.

Visitor Center – Weekends 9AM to 5PM, except in July and August, when the hours are 8AM to 12PM. Because the center is staffed by volunteers, its weekday and weekend hours can vary; you may want to call ahead and ask.

Paddling put-in area – Sunrise to sunset year-round.

Where am I allowed to go?

Visitor use at the Preserve is confined to the two developed trails and the Visitor Center to limit disturbance to the local wildlife and their habitats.  If you’d like to stray from the trail, you can join one of our guided walks, paddles, or bird surveys. These are led by preserve staff or volunteers, and may visit other areas.

What should I bring?

Plenty of drinking water, insect repellant, binoculars, sunscreen, snacks, and a bag for your trash. If you’re a photographer, bring a zoom lens, so that you can snap pictures without getting close and scaring the birds away. In the summer, think about a hat and sunglasses.

Where are the restrooms?

There are flush toilets located at the Visitor Center, available only during the Visitor Center’s open hours. There are additional rest rooms located in the parking lot just south of the Visitor Center as well as at the parking lot located next to the Lost Slough Wetlands Boardwalk entrance.


Can I take home this thing I found along the trail?

Collecting is not allowed on the Preserve. Please leave rocks, feathers, plants, animals as you found them so that others may enjoy them as well. If you want to take home a souvenir, Cosumnes River Preserve t-shirts and note cards are available for purchase at the Visitor Center.

Can I bring my boat?

Yes, though only non-gas-powered boats are allowed to launch from the Preserve’s dock. Motorized boat use is difficult due to shallow and varying water depths and vegetative over growth. The closest boat ramp for motorized boat launching is located outside the Preserve, at Wimpy’s Marina on the Mokelumne River, which offers better motorized boating opportunities.

The lower Cosumnes River offers excellent flat water canoeing and kayaking opportunities during most of the year. The Cosumnes is the last free-flowing river from the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Great Central Valley. Paddlers can enjoy a scenic glide through the river’s sloughs and main channel, crusing along riparian forest, oak woodland and through wetlands teeming with wildlife. A Paddling Guide with map to the Cosumnes waterways is available here. Paddlers can launch their craft from the dock that is just south of the Visitor Parking Lot. This is the only allowed and legal public access point on the lower Cosumnes River. You may access the boat dock by following the 200 yard cement path that begins at the northeast corner of the Visitor Parking Lot. Due to distance, paddlers are encouraged to use carts or wheels, which are available for lending at the Visitor Center. Driving to the launch site is not permitted.

Paddlers should park in the upper parking lot and also use this area to offload their watercraft and gear. Please be aware that the Preserve and parking area is open from sunrise to sunset ONLY, please make sure that you plan your trip accordingly and schedule enough time for your return.

I’m a teacher. Can I take my class here on a field trip?

Yes, many field trips are held at the Cosumnes River Preserve each year. Before bringing your class, you will be required to attend one of our teacher workshops, so we can show you how to conduct the Preserve’s hands-on activities with your students, and provide you with information about the wildlife, habitats and reserve history, including a trail brochure so that you can host your own walk. Our visitor’s center has a number of hands-on exhibits for children, and picnic facilities for sixty students. We offer curriculums for Grades K-3, Grades 4-6, and Grades 7-12, as well as fun game sheets like word search, plant bingo and insect bingo.

We recommend that all educators carry a first-aid kit and that each child bring a bottle of water. Once you have attended the workshop, field trips can be scheduled using this form.

Can I bring my bike?

Bicycles are not allowed on the Preserve’s trails, but can be locked up at the Visitor Center, or ridden on Franklin Blvd or Desmond Road, County maintained roads.

Can I hunt or fish at the preserve?

In general there is no hunting allowed in the core area of the Preserve because it is not compatible with our public use and wildlife protection objectives. Hunting and fishing are allowed on the river and in the sloughs, but hunters and fishermen must stay in their boats, there is no hunting or fishing from the banks. It is legal to fish or hunt from a boat in the river, a state navigable waterway, but only during the proper seasons and with the proper licenses.

Much of the surrounding area that is not the Preserve is owned by private landowners, who control access.

For several years we have permitted limited-entry waterfowl hunts for youth and mobility-impaired hunters at the 154-acre Cougar Wetland.  These hunts generally have been very successful and we would like to continue providing this hunting opportunity at the Preserve. Check out the Bureau of Land Management or Department of Fish & Game websites for other placse that permit hunting.

Fishing at the Preserve is allowed only from a boat on the waters of the main channel of the Cosumnes River and sloughs accessible from the Mokelumne River. No fishing from the banks, bridge, or along the roadway is allowed.

Can I bring my pet?

No. This is not a Park, this is a Nature Preserve and a Designated Ecological Reserve. 

Our primary mission is to restore and manage habitat for native species.  Your dog or other pet is not a native species.

Recreational access and amenities on this Preserve are optional and revocable privileges.

Please help us to continue to allow public access to this Preserve by keeping your pets at home or in your vehicle at all times.