Sacramento Valley Conservancy

March 28, 2020

Visit Open Spaces Protected by SVC

The Sacramento Valley Conservancy has protected more than 50 properties and roughly 18,000 acres of open space. Many of these sites are privately owned, working farms, ranches, or other properties not open to the general public for recreation. When possible and compatible with management practices, SVC will allow the public to visit and enjoy our preserves. Here are some places you are welcome to check out:

Deer Creek Hills Preserve is located in eastern Sacramento County on Latrobe Road in Sloughhouse. It is the largest open space preserve in Sacramento County and a working cattle ranch, boasting over 4,500 acres of Blue Oak Woodlands, seasonal creeks and grasslands. Single track trails and ranch roads allow visitors to explore the beauty and expanding views of the Sacramento Valley and the High Sierra on foot, mountain bike or horseback. This preserve is only open on select days and times. More information is provided below.

Camp Pollock is an 11-acre former Boy Scout Camp on the Lower American River Parkway. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset with free parking. Day use rules and rental information is available here.

Rancho Seco Lake Recreational Area is located southeast of Elk Grove off Twin Cities Road in the city of Herald. SVC holds a conservation easement on SMUD property, but does not oversee public access or camping reservations. The Howard Ranch Trail is a 7-mile loop featuring a lake and vernal pools. Parking and camping fees apply. Learn more about visiting.

Dry Creek Parkway is a paved 6-mile corridor in the northern part of Sacramento County near Rio Linda. The area is open year-round from sunrise to sunset with several access points. More information.

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Deer Creek Hills Visitor Information and FAQ's

When can we visit Deer Creek Hills?

As a working cattle ranch, only portions of the property are open to the public, and all visits must be part of a pre-scheduled outing. See the events calendar for a list of upcoming days and times the preserve is open, and to register for any visits.

Generally, Deer Creek Hills Preserve is open to the public for hiking on Saturdays from 9am-1pm from February through May and from October through November. Hike one of the 3 marked trails on your own. Or, for a chance to explore more than 4,500+ acres, join one of our many guided educational hikes led by our Volunteer Docents. Mountain Bike Season runs from July through October, with rides every Monday night and one Saturday per month.

SVC's trained docents lead guided tours and hikes featuring botany, birding, geology, history, stargazing, photography, yoga, and more. Visit the Online Calendar to check out the upcoming hikes. Outings with a charge to attend can be paid for online when registering or with cash or check in person upon arrival. Please pre-register for our docent-guided outings, as many have a maximum number of attendees and often fill to capacity, or others may be canceled for lack of sign-ups. Please register early.

How do we get there?

Map & Directions to Deer Creek Hills Preserve are available online. Please note the information on crossing Crevis Creek. High-clearance vehicles are recommended in the wet season, and we very much appreciate when visitors carpool.

Is there a charge to park?

Nope. We do not charge our guests a fee to park, however we gladly accept donations, which help us upkeep the area, open it to the public, and provide clean, well stocked porta-pottys.

Is there a charge for trail usage?

Self-Guided hikes offered on Saturdays are free. Our educational Docent guided tours are offered at a low cost and free to youth 16 and younger. The SVC Season Passes are a great value to frequent visitors and make thoughtful gifts for your nature loving friends. Donations and outing fees help us maintain the preserve and keep it open to the public. SVC does not receive any dedicated public funding to manage the preserve or provide public access programs. If you enjoy your visit, please make a donation.

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What can we do at Deer Creek Hills?

The trails at Deer Creek Hills Preserve are multi-use. We allow hiking, trail running, equestrians and mountain bikers, and for some public and private uses and events. Deer Creek Hills is a working ranch. The cattle make and maintain the trails and are an essential part of our management plan. When the cows go home, cyclists come back. See the SVC Brochure for more information about when we offer different types of outings, and check the online calendar for the most up to date schedule. Shooting, hunting, fishing, mining, fires, and other activities that could damage or remove natural resources from the Preserve are strictly prohibited. Read our visitor rules for more information.

Groups wishing to use the space for public or private events should contact SVC staff at and complete the special event application.

What kind of Equestrian Rides do you offer?

All riders must provide their own horse. Explore 4,500+ acres on escorted educational equestrian rides with SVC volunteer Docents from February-May, and the Saturday after Thanksgiving. SVC's Docent-Led rides are through open country over a variety of terrain in a pristine protected landscape. Climbing and descending hills, maneuvering around rock outcrops and crossing flowing creeks are involved with this outing. Groups travel at a walk and are usually from 10-15 in size. Horses and riders should be accustomed to riding in groups and in open fields.

When are the Mountain Bike Rides?

Mountain Bike Season at Deer Creek Hills runs from July-October when cattle are off the property. Riders can challenge their skill set on singletrack trails and ranch roads, at their own pace on pre-marked courses or during guided tours. Monday Night Rides are free and held each week in July through October from 4pm-dusk. Educational mountain bike tours are led by SVC volunteer Docents, typically on the third Saturday of the month during mountain bike season.

What amenities are available?No Running Water icon

Deer Creek Hills is an open space and oak woodland preserve. To keep the property as natural as possible, we have not installed plumbing or other infrastructure. Picnic tables and minimal shade are available in the parking lot at Eagle Camp Corral. There is no running water or electricity available, so please plan accordingly. Arrive hydrated and bring plenty of water for during and after your activity. SVC does provide clean porta-pottys at the trail head.

Can we bring Dogs?

No. Deer Creek Hills is a working cattle ranch and has been protected to preserve the sensitive and unique habitat. Wildlife can be frightened by outside animals. And even well-behaved dogs can startle cattle, causing panic in individual animals or throughout the herd. Only working service dogs are allowed. If you're looking for a place to hike with your loyal 4-legged companion, check out Dry Creek Parkway or Camp Pollock.

Can we bring kids?

YES! Our self guided trail is kid friendly. Many families with smaller children wear them in wraps and backpacks. Most of our trails are single track, and better suited for foot traffic, however some of the ranch roads are ok for more rugged 'off road' strollers. For older kids, please use the opportunity to teach them about protecting and respecting nature, and keep an eye on them to prevent injuries, bites or stings.

Do you offer special youth programming?

YES! Our Youth, Education and Stewardship (YES) program is focused on bringing kids outdoors. We offer a range of options to visit and learn, whether it's a day out with parents, teachers or leaders, guided by our docents or staff, learning to get their hands dirty and becoming stewards of the environment or with a youth education partner like Sierra Nevada Journeys, we want more kids to spend time learning and playing in the special Open Spaces we've protected. Please reach us at to discuss how we can help get your youth outdoors!

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How can we help give back to Open Space?

  1. Participate in or sponsor a service day at Deer Creek Hills! - These events are held twice yearly, on a dire needs basis, and as sponsorships are received. Tasks include trail building, maintenance, sign hanging, fence repairing, weed eradication, and general clean-up projects. Please Register so we can provide sufficient snacks and lunch.
  2. Become a Docent - Join our amazing group of trained docents to help with activities at Camp Pollock and Deer Creek Hills. Volunteering at an outing is a great way to learn more about our programs, meet docents, and see if it's a good fit. We can always use an extra hand and new volunteers are welcome!
  3. Administration - Help us grow our organization and reach the community through data entry, mailings, represent SVC at a tabling event or help with calls and pick-ups of silent Auction items.
  4. Events - Help plan, organize, or assist at one of our fun community events! Celebrate our volunteers at the Cowboy Breakfast, or assist at one of our annual fundraisers like the family friendly Earth Day Concert or free Summer Concert Series, Family GlampOut or Treasures of the Valley event.
  5. Join Us - With support from people like you, the Conservancy has protected thousands of acres of important open space - special places forever preserved - on which children can play, farmers can cultivate, wildlife can survive, and you can enjoy, but we can't keep working without your support. Membership donations are vital to our success! By joining our family of members, you can directly help conserve unique natural lands, working farms, ranches, and outdoor classes. Make a secure donation online.

To register for events, please visit our calendar. To schedule group service projects or special events, or for any additional information please e-mail

Want to know MORE? Visit our online calendar of events here.

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Accreditation SealThe accreditation seal recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The Sacramento Valley Conservancy was awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance in July 2009.

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