Free Public Wetland Tours

The FIRST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH TOUR and the LAST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH BIRD Walk are both free and on a first come, first served basis. Please email info@amigosdebolsachica.org or call (714) 840-1575 in advance to ensure your spot. Both tours begin at the south parking lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, across the street from the main entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach. Carpooling is encouraged as parking at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is limited.

The First Saturday Tour

FREE FIRST SATURDAY TOUR offers an exceptional on-site presentation of the Bolsa Chica Story. On the first Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., our Volunteer Naturalists gather at the south lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, across the street from the main entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach. Volunteer Naturalists are stationed on or near the footbridge, a truly magnificent entrance to the restored Bolsa Chica wetlands. Tours begin every 15 minutes and five areas of interest are included in the presentation: history, birds, endangered species, ecology and restoration. This free tour is on a first come, first served basis. This is a wonderful opportunity for vacationers, students, small groups and local citizens to visit our valuable resource.

The Last Saturday of the Month Bird Tour

Join us for a FREE bird talk and nature walk at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve led by Amigos Volunteer Naturalists. The Bolsa Chica provides feeding and nesting habitat for thousands of birds and is considered one of the prime birding sites in Southern California. The variety of bird species changes throughout the year as they migrate during each season. The walk takes place the last Saturday of each month at 9:00 am. We meet at the South Parking Lot across from the entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach. Carpooling is encouraged as parking at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is limited.

What You Will See at Bolsa Chica

Year-round wildlife includes egrets and herons, horn snails and crabs, with the occasional sightings of White Pelicans, Peregrine Falcon, and Northern Harrier. The winter months (especially November through March) offer high concentrations of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds such as Northern Pintails, Western Grebes, Willets, Marbled Godwits, Western Sandpipers, and many more. Up to 70 different species may be counted on a winter day! In the summer months, visitors can observe up close endangered species such as the California Least Tern, Ridgway’s Rail and Belding's Savannah Sparrow; and look at Stingrays and Sea Hares in the waters below the footbridge.

The Bolsa Chica includes over 1400 acres of undeveloped wetlands, lowlands and lower mesa. This area is rich with human history as well, beginning thousands of years ago with the Native Americans who lived atop the mesas to the duck hunters and the oil production in the twentieth century. The Bolsa Chica is also an important stop for migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway, including some endangered species and threatened species. More than 200 species of birds have been sighted at Bolsa Chica. For educators who teach grades 1, 3, 4, and 6, a tour of Bolsa Chica helps them meet the state life science standards required for these grade levels. For the higher grade levels, a tour of Bolsa Chica can help teach your students how getting involved in your local community can promote positive environmental changes that impact all of us. For scout groups, a tour of Bolsa Chica can help them earn various badges and achievements. All Amigos de Bolsa Chica tours are led by volunteer naturalists trained in uniquely designed Bolsa Chica coursework.

2 Rules to Protect Our Wildlife and Your Children

Because the Amigos de Bolsa Chica cares about wetland habitat and wildlife, everything at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is protected. Please review our two rules with your students BEFORE your visit to Bolsa Chica. Teachers, aides and parents are all responsible for ensuring that children obey the rules at all times. We want you to have a wonderful experience with nature! Thank you!

Rule #1: Respect the wildlife in their home

  • Use a quiet voice at all times
  • Stay on the trails
  • Do not pick any plants
  • Do not harm any insects

Rule #2: Listen to and obey your tour leader

  • Only 1 person talks at a time
  • When your tour leader is talking, you listen
  • Raise your hand to speak
  • Stay behind the tour leader on the trails
  • Follow instructions
Trails for tours
Printable Amigos de Bolsa Chica Trail Map