customer care

IRWD Logo Image
May 23, 2024 11:04AM
May 23, 2024 11:04AM

customer care

San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary

IRWD's San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary is a hidden gem in the heart of busy Orange County. It encompasses more than 300 acres of coastal freshwater wetlands, half of which have been restored to a natural state. The remaining acres are quality habitat and are not in need of restoration. With 12 miles of walking trails, the San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary has become one of Southern California's most notable nature respites.

Visitor information

HOURS: Open dawn to dusk every day
ADDRESS: 5 Riparian View, Irvine, California

View directional map 

Be kind to the marsh and its creatures

IRWD invites you to enjoy the marsh. But while you’re there, you must follow these rules to ensure the well-being of the plants and animals that call the marsh home.

View marsh rules 

Marsh tour (video)


More about the marsh


The IRWD San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, a wetland of distinction, is a place for everyone to enjoy the beauty of nature. Visitors can walk along the trails, watch the more than 200 bird species that visit the marsh, take photographs, or simply relax under a native willow and listen to the sounds of nature. Because the Marsh is a wildlife sanctuary and place for quiet reflection, vehicles, bicycles, drones, dogs, horses, and other animals are not permitted.

The wetlands are a critical component of IRWD's Natural Treatment System. They naturally clean urban runoff from San Diego Creek and help to protect the environmentally sensitive Upper Newport Bay. After interacting with the bulrush and other plants for two to four weeks, up to 75% of the nitrogen is removed. The cleaner water is returned to the creek to continue its journey to Upper Newport Bay and the ocean.

The Marsh is full of educational opportunities, serving as a living laboratory for students, teachers and the public. In cooperation with Discovery Cube Orange County and the local chapter of the National Audubon Society, people can enjoy a variety of wildlife educational programs and tours, including an active school field trip program.

Visitors at the San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary are reminded that you may encounter mosquitos. Please take appropriate precautions as outlined by the Orange County Vector Control District.


See the beauty of the marsh (video)