SMUD Nature Preserve

Acreage: 1132
Date Protected: 10/18/2006
SVC's Role: Manage, Monitor

cows behind a fence

SMUD Nature Preserve & 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 around Rancho Seco Lake. The Howard Ranch Trail is a 7-mile loop through the SMUD Preserve, and features a lake and vernal pools. Dogs are not allowed. Docent-guided tours are offered in the mornings during springtime. The Rancho Seco Rec Area can accommodate large group picnics and overnight camping with lake views.

“A short 25 minute drive from downtown Sacramento, you’ll find the 400-acre park that makes up the Rancho Seco Recreational Area. Take a short vacation and enjoy bird watching, boating, camping, fishing, hiking and even a sanctuary for rescued exotic animals and wildlife. Camp in comfort with recreation and concession buildings, shade structures, laundry facility, boathouse and newly renovated restrooms and showers.”

Parking and camping fees apply. Learn more about visiting.

Rancho Seco Brochure

rancho seco brochure
protected species

Key Protected Species

Burrowing Owl

Fairy Shrimp

Swainson's Hawk

Tiger Salamander

Tricolored Blackbird


SVC Property Icon Legend

SVC is a steward of lands with varying ecosystems, species, and levels of public access.

protected species Protected Species


ag Farm & Agriculture
oak woodland Oak Woodland
vernal pool Vernal Pool
riparian area Riparian Area
grassland Grassland
native garden Native Garden

Public Access & Other Info

public access Public Access
dog friendly Dog-friendly
kid friendly Kid-friendly
camping Camping
trails Trails
research Research
historical significance Historical Significance
volunteer opportunities Volunteer Opportunities
tours available Tours Available

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