Landels-Hill Big Creek Natural Reserve
Administering Campus: UCSC
Location: Big Sur Coast, Monterey County, 80 km (50 mi.) south of Monterey;
two-hour drive from Santa Cruz campus.
Size: 1,752 hectares (4,328 acres);
additional 2,239 hectares (5,528 acres) accessible by use agreement
Elevation: 0 to 1,067 m (0 to 3,500 ft.) Top of watershed at Cone Peak: 1,571 m (5,155 ft.)
Average Precipitation: 62 cm (25 in.) at coast;
102 cm (40 in.) along ridges; higher on upper peaks
Average Temperature: Lower elevations from 0 to 30 m (0 to 100 ft.): January 5.5 - 15.8 ºC (42 - 60 ºF) August 10.9 - 20.9 ºC (52 - 70 ºF) Higher elevations above 610 m (2,000 ft.): January 6.0 - 14.1 ºC (43 - 57 ºF) July 18.4 - 29.4 ºC (65 - 85 ºF)
Protected by the Santa Lucia Mountains and rocky cliffs, the Big Sur coast includes the largest and most pristine coastal wildlands in central and southern California. In the center of this area, the University of California Natural Reserve System and the University of California at Santa Cruz operate the Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve. Directly adjacent to the terrestrial reserve are two state marine protected areas: the Big Creek State Marine Reserve and the Big Creek State Conservation Area, which are administered by the California Department of Fish and Wildife.
In addition to protecting these natural areas, the purpose of the reserve is to support university teaching, research, and public service. This combination of programs and protected habitats is unique, and the reserve continues to make important contributions to our knowledge of wild coastal ecosystems.