The Dickson Ranch boat launch allows visitors to experience and learn about tidal marsh restoration, providing kayakers, SUPs, and canoers incredible bird watching and scenic views.

Due to the distance from the parking area, the site is most often used as part of guided programs and tours. Sonoma Land Trust offers kayak programs and guided tours throughout the spring, summer, and fall for residents, visitors, and school classes. A boat dolly is recommended for those bringing their own boats.

The site is located within the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Sonoma County and is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Boat Facilities

Water access facilities at the site include a gravel ramp that tends to be compacted and consolidated. The launch is located approximately ¼ mile from the parking area on Sears Point Unit, San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.


The boat launch is located south of Highway 37 off Reclamation Road, and is accessed from the parking area on the Sears Point Unit. From Highway 37, turn south on Reclamation Road at the Lakeville Highway intersection. The parking area is located before a closed gate on Reclamation Road.


A large gravel parking area is located east of Reclamation Road. There are two paved ADA parking spaces located near the trailhead at the south end of the parking lot. No overnight parking is allowed.


There is one portable ADA restroom located near the trailhead into the restoration area.


Amenities at Dickson Ranch include a parking lot, kiosk and signage, trash receptacles, and several miles of Bay Trail.


Two ADA parking spaces are paved and there is a paved path of travel along the edge of the parking lot to the kiosk and trailhead that parallels Reclamation Road. The trail to the restroom is decomposed granite and in good condition.

Safety Tips

Boaters are advised to consult local tide charts before launching and should be aware that extensive mud flats may be exposed and even shallow draft vessels can be subject to hidden underwater hazards during low tides. Although Dickson Ranch boat launch remains navigable at all tides, mudflats can become unnavigable at lower tides in certain areas within the Dickson Ranch restoration area. As the marsh continues to accrete sediment, as intended, mudflats could become more of an issue in future years.

Wildlife Tips

Dickson Ranch is an approximately 1,500 acre tidal marsh restoration project that is managed for resident and migratory waterbirds and tidal marsh habitats and species. Waterfowl species commonly seen in the area include mallard, Northern shoveler and pintail, ruddy duck, canvasback, widgeon, gadwall, scaup and Canada goose, among many others. In marsh areas, egrets, herons, stilts, avocets and sandpipers rest and prey on invertebrates in the shallow water and exposed mud flats. Tidal marsh habitat also acts as a significant nursery habitat for species of anadromous fish such as salmon and steelhead.

Please maintain a buffer distance of 50 feet from Ridgway’s rail habitat, 820 feet from large groups of birds, 330 feet from a harbor seal haul-out August – February, and 500 feet from a harbor seal haul-out March – July (pupping season).

Trailhead Photos