Corralitos Creek

Santa Cruz County, California.

Corralitos Creek midpoint in Freedom, California.

Corralitos Creek ends in Watsonville, California.

62 feet (19 meters)

14.17 miles long (22.80 kilometers)

About The Corralitos Creek

About Corralitos Creek, CA

Corralitos Creek is a 14.1 mile long lower tributary of the Pajaro River, located in Santa Cruz County in the state of California. The stream flows southward from the western slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains and passes through the rural areas of Corralitos and Freedom. Its water joins the Salsipuedes Creek after passing through the northernmost part of Watsonville, which is then carried into the Monterey Bay and eventually, to the Pacific Ocean. The stream is also only less than 10 miles away from most of California’s towns and cities such as Amesti, Interlaken, Pajaro, Aptos Hills-Larkin Valley, Corralitos, La Selva Beach, Pajaro Dunes, and Rio del Mar. It has an elevation of 1,200 feet and has more than 9 miles of spawning area for fishery and wildlife. Corralitos Creek is also known as Arroyo de los Corralitos. 

The stream is known as one of the most productive breeding grounds for steelhead in Santa Cruz County. However, the water body has also experienced a dramatic decrease in its steelhead population especially in the 1990s, which led the government to tag the fish species as “threatened”. With that said, restoration programs have been built and established throughout the years as a way to enhance the fish passage in this water body. In 2013, a certain South-Central California Coast Steelhead Recovery Plan has been put into motion by the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. This was to ensure minimal impact of in-stream mining on the migration, spawning, and rearing habitats along the Pajaro River and its tributaries, especially Corralitos Creek.