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
Key Protected Species