Cosumnes River Preserve

The Cosumnes (pronounced Coh-SUM-ness) River Preserve in Galt is open to the public, usually year-round, free of charge.  There is adequate parking and easily accessible restrooms, but keep in mind that the gates to the lots don’t open until around 8:00 – 9:00 am… so in the summer months, you sometimes can’t get onto the preserve by car in the cooler early-morning hours (even though the trails are open from dawn until dusk.  So, you may have to park on the street to get to the trails in the summer.

Easy to Locate? Yes
Pet Friendly? No. No pets or horses are allowed anywhere on the property.
Easy to Walk? Yes. The trails are well-marked and maintained and are generally flat. There is also a nice boardwalk area with a viewing platform.
Is there a Fee? No. Access is FREE to the public.
Are there Restrooms? Yes. There’s some at the nature center and one near the boardwalk. NOTE: The restrooms aren’t open 24 hours a day; they’re only accessible when staff/volunteers are at the site.
Is there Accessible Parking? Yes.
Other Notes: This preserve is broken up into several different areas. There’s river access at one spot for kayaking, trails to walk through the oak woodland and wetland areas, and access to more bird-sightings along the adjacent Desmond and Bruceville Roads. Note: If you’re birding along these roads, obey all signs and do NOT trespass onto private property.

See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos taken at this location throughout the last several years.

Inside the preserve there is a boardwalk that takes you out into part of wetlands area, and a large visitor’s center that usually is open on weekends from 9:00 am until about 5:00 pm.  Those hours can vary greatly in the late summer (July and August), so it’s best to call first if you want to visit the center. 

There are several well-maintained trails on the preserve varying in length from 1-mile to about 3-miles.  You can get a map by clicking HERE.  And the preserve hosts tours and special events throughout the year, which you can learn about by “liking” them on FaceBook or by going to the Cosumnes River Preserve website.

The big attraction here is that it’s smack in the middle of the Pacific Flyway, and migrating birds converge on the area from about November through March each year.  During my trips to the preserve I’ve seen Red-Winged Blackbirds, Sparrows, White Fronted Geese, Canadian Geese, Pintail Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Green-Winged Teals, Gadwalls, a Bufflehead, Mallards, Black-Necked Stilts, Cinnamon Teals, Hummingbirds, and Coots… among many others.  In the spring and summer months, the place is also a host to a variety of butterflies, moths, and their caterpillars that add to the enjoyment of the preserve. 

Sandhill Cranes are also a big attraction in this region in the fall and winter.  The Cosumnes River Preserve offers a viewing guide for the cranes which you can download by clicking HERE.

NOTE: the preserve nurtures and protects wildlife and for that reason some of the areas are closed to public (except during special guided tours).  The protected area as well marked, so please obey all signage and don’t trespass into areas that are closed to the public.

How to Get to the Preserve

The preserve is located at 13501 Franklin Blvd, Galt CA

• To get there, take Interstate 5 South to the Twin Cities Road exit.
• As you come off the offramp, turn RIGHT onto Twin Cities Road.
Then take Twin Cities Road east to Franklin Blvd.
• Turn RIGHT onto Franklin Blvd. and follow it until you see the large Cosumnes River Preserve sign.
• Proceed up the road a little further and you’ll see the boardwalk/wetlands area TO YOUR RIGHT. There is a small parking lot and restroom facility there.
• A little further up Franklin Blvd. you will see a larger parking lot and the Visitors’ Center TO YOUR LEFT. The trails are on the backside of the Visitors’ Center.

The preserve is made up of about 46-thousand acres of wildlife habitat and farm land owned by a community partnership consisting of The Nature Conservancy, Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish & Game, Sacramento County, Department of Water Resources, Ducks Unlimited, and the California State Lands Commission. 

For more information, call: (916) 684-2816.
Or see their website at:

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist

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