Facts at a Glance

Blue Oak Ranch Reserve is a 3,280-acre Biological Field Station and Ecological Reserve that was founded in 2007. It is one of six UC Berkeley Reserves and a member of the University of California Natural Reserve System (UCNRS). BORR is operated jointly by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and the UCNRS. The Reserve provides a wealth of research and teaching opportunities in a wide range of important Californian habitats.

The shared mission of the 41 UCNRS reserves 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 reserve can sleep 50 with additional capacity for tent campers. Four heated cabins have 3/4 bathrooms and contain a total of 20 beds. The remaining 30 beds are distributed between eight weatherproof but unheated screened cabins. The Cedar Barn provides communal spaces including a large group kitchen, restrooms, two showers, a laundry room, a large multi-purpose room, a 20-seat classroom, and a 1,000 sq ft field lab with secure storage. Read more