Visitor Guide

On the reserve

The Quail Ridge Reserve is dedicated to the University of California mission of teaching, research and service. All visits must be approved by and coordinated with the reserve manager. All visitors must adhere to safety and access rules.


Those interested in using the reserve should contact the reserve manager to arrange a reserve tour and to discuss the feasibility of the planned use. 


Before visiting the reserve for the first time, all persons not affiliated with the University of California must read and sign the Natural Reserve System Waiver of Liability, Assumption of Risk, and Indemnity Agreement.  Classes not affiliated with the University of California, should obtain and return waivers before the class arrives. A parent or legal guardian must sign the release agreements for minors.


If you would like to conduct research, bring a class group, or hold an academic retreat at the Quail Ridge Reserve, you must submit an online application at .  If you have multiple projects or activity types, please submit an application for each project/activity.

Once you have submitted an application, you will need to create a reservation for the day(s) you intend to visit the reserve.  Applications and reservations are typically evaluated within 48 hours, provided the proposed activities are clearly appropriate to the site.

Please acknowledge the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA NATURAL RESERVE SYSTEM, UC DAVIS QUAIL RIDGE RESERVE in any publication resulting from use of the reserve.  Keep the reserve manager aware of any sources of funding for your project, dates of funding, and the funding amount.

For groups, the PI/group leader is responsible for making sure each participant is aware of reserve policies and safety guidelines listed on the application and in our information packet.


There is no charge for day-use of the Reserve by approved applicants. Rates for all overnight stays are $8.00/night for University of California affiliates, and $10.00/night for others. For exceptional assistance with your group/project, staff time may be billed at a rate of $38/$49 per hour (UC vs non-UC rate) for stewards' time or $49/$65 per hour for director's time. While staff time can be requested, staff may not always have available time to fulfill requests.


Collecting is permitted only with the express permission of the Reserve Manager, appropriate collecting permits from state and federal agencies, and strict compliance with the UCD Animal Care Council. Any trapping and handling of vertebrates requires previous approval of the UCD Animal Care Council and the manager. 

No pets are allowed.

Smoking is prohibited on the reserve. 

No personal vehicles beyond the field station. Vehicles must stay on established roadways and vehicle trails. Talk to reserve staff about reserving use of all-terrain vehicles.

Leave all gates as you find them (e.g., if closed and locked, close and lock it after passing).


Cell phone service is typically only available from hilltop locations. It is advisable to carry first aid equipment, extra water, and a cell phone at all times.

Potential hazards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Heat/Sun exposure.  The most common cause of field injury! Drink abundant water, and wear appropriate clothing.
  • Rattlesnakes. Wear long pants and hiking boots, and use caution around rocks, logs, or in tall grass. 
  • Poison Oak. Common across the reserve. "Leaves of three, let them be."  If you suspect you have been exposed, consider washing with Tecnu and/or taking an antihistamine.
  • Ticks. Ticks in this area may carry Lyme disease and other illnesses. Routine body-checks after field visits are advised. If bitten, monitor symptoms and consult with a physician. 
  • Mountain Lions. Avoid hiking alone, make noise, and if confronted, throw things and yell. Do not bend down. Do not turn your back or run. 
  • Rugged Terrain. Quail Ridge is a wildland environment. There are downed logs, unstable rocks, steep slopes, cliffs, ground squirrel holes, steep and narrow roads, and many other potential hazards. Use caution and good judgment.
  • Hantavirus. This is a potentially fatal disease caused by a virus associated with mice. Do not handle live or dead rodents or their feces or urine. Use wet-cleaning techniques when cleaning up reserve facilities.
  • Hunting and trespassing may occur in the area. Please notifying the Reserve Manager of any inappropriate uses of the reserve.

Field station