Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve

Stebbins ColdCanyon Reserve
Stebbins ColdCanyon Reserve / By Photo Lobsang Wangdu

Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve, set in a steep, north-facing canyon of the northern Coast Range, provides excellent opportunities to study plant and animal communities of both the inner and outer Coast Ranges. Differences in slope, exposure, and moisture regimes promote a variety of undisturbed habitats, including valley and foothill grasslands, blue oak woodland, chamise chaparral, lower montane chaparral, mixed riparian woodland, and intermittent foothill stream.

Year-round springs provide watering areas for many wildlife species, such as bear, mountain lion, blacktailed deer, ringtail, and turkey. A total of 108 bird species (35 nesting), eight amphibian, eighteen reptile, 43 mammal, and more than 290 plant species have been identified at the reserve.

Adjacent protected lands held by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife greatly expand the effective research area.

The reserve is named in honor of G. Ledyard Stebbins, a world-renowned plant geneticist and longtime professor at UC Davis and Berkeley. Stebbins was an avid naturalist with a strong interest in conserving natural biotic communities.

Public Access

The site is fully open to the public. Approximately 65,000 people visit the reserve’s nine miles of hiking trails annually to explore its canyon bottoms and ridgetops.

Educational Outreach

The reserve is available for field trips by elementary and secondary schools, and collaborates on a number of local school interpretation and curriculum development projects. The Stebbins Docent Program aims to educate the public as an impact mitigation tool, and a means to increasing Citizen Science opportunities in the reserve. The reserve also provides opportunities for the establishment of long term programs monitoring environmental change.

Field Courses

The site is visited by university courses in wildlife field techniques, California floristics, range science, wildlife biology, botany, plant and fire ecology, and geology field studies. The reserve also hosts UC’s Wild Davis and ecological restoration capstone projects, which contribute to initiatives relating to reserve management and decision-making.

Selected Research

  • California Bumble Bee Atlas
  • Bird nocturnal flight call recording
  • Tick surveillance for disease detection
  • Landscape design architecture
  • Population genomics of the western forest scorpion
  • Phytophthora spp. distribution and diversity
  • Fire ecology and hydrology
  • Diversity and ecology of plant growth promoting Trichoderma species
  • Solitary bee microbiome study
  • The brood cell microbiome of solitary bees
  • California Conservation Genomics Project

Paul Havemann
Reserve Manager
Natural Reserve System
501 Engineering Way
Davis, CA 95616
Phone: 530-752-6949
Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve website

Solano and Napa Counties, 32 km (20 mi.) west of Davis campus; 10 km (6 mi.) west of Winters; 0.8 km (0.5 mi.) east of Monticello Dam.

None; site is best suited for day use.

The reserve bibliography includes citations of journal articles, books, theses, art, and other works published about or based on activities conducted at the reserve.

Plant List
Natural history handbook with species lists; GIS layers.

Roving staff reserve manager; no on-site personnel.

258 hectares (638 acres)

91 to 762 m (300 to 2,500 ft.)

52 cm (20 in.) per year.

January: 8 ºC (46 ºF)
July: 28 ºC (82 ºF)

Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve
Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve
Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve