Founded in 2007, Blue Oak Ranch Reserve is a 3, 280-acre Biological Field Station and Ecological Reserve, one of the 40+ units of the UC Natural Reserve System, and is operated jointly by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research, Berkeley Natural History Museums, and the NRS. The Reserve provides a wealth of research and teaching opportunities in a wide range of important Californian habitats.
The shared mission of the 39 Reserves in the Natural Reserve System is to contribute to the understanding and wise stewardship of the Earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research, and public service at protected natural areas throughout California.
Santa Clara County, 11.2 km (7 mi as the crow flies) east of downtown San Jose. Situated on the west slope of Mount Hamilton adjacent to Joseph Grant County Park.
Size & Elevations
Size: 1,319 ha (3,280 acres) Elevations: 454- 870 m (1,489’ – 2,855’)
Mt Hamilton summit: 1,280 m (4,200’)
Climate & Weather
Average Precipitation: 600 mm (23.63 inches)
Average Temperatures: January: 2.5°C (36.8°F) to 8.8°C (48.5°F)
August: 16.6°C (62.5°F) to 25.5°C (78°F)
Vegetation features valley oak and blue oak woodlands, mixed (blue, black, valley, coast live) oak woodlands, chamise chaparral, Diablan sage scrub, native and non-native grasslands, numerous stock ponds, and well preserved seasonal and perennial streams with intact riparian vegetation and populations of native fish and amphibians. In total, the reserve supports more than 460 species of plants, 130 species of birds, 41 species of mammals, 7 species of amphibians, 14 species of reptiles, 7 species of fish, and hundreds of species of invertebrates.
The BORR field station can accommodate the needs of up to 50 students, researchers, and other users for day and overnight use. Enclosed and screened cabins are available, along with RV hook-ups and tenting options. The Cedar Barn contains a large group kitchen, an expansive meeting room, a 20-seat classroom, a field lab, and showers and restrooms. These facilities are nearly energy self-sufficient with an off-the-grid solar photovoltaic power system, solar hot water heaters, wood stoves, and well water. Our roads have been improved to provide year-round access to users for their field courses, research projects, and public outreach activities. Read more