American Canyon Wetlands-Napa Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area-Green Island

Friday, September 16, 2016

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This ride heads north from Solano County on Lake Herman Rd and the Solano Bikeway into Napa County for a leisurely stroll along the beautiful Napa-Sonoma Marsh shoreline. The scenic trails provide a variety of ways to explore the marshland and Napa River. The return includes a jaunt through Benicia State Rec Area out to the pier.

From Holiday Highlands Park, it’s a quick 3.3 miles through the city streets of Martinez to the Benicia-Martinez Bridge trail off Mococo St.

The mile long incline across the bridge has an average grade of 4.5% up to the center of the path before dropping to the other side onto Park Rd in Benicia. Enjoy the views of Carquinez Strait!

Park Rd goes past the Benicia Historical Museum and the Amport car lots before the descent along the pipe lines towards the Valero Oil Refinery.

Head north on Industrial Way under the Benicia Trestle through the industrial area along Suisun Bay. There are marvelous views of the Mothball Fleet, Mt Diablo and the surrounding marshes and wetlands along Goodyear Slough.

Turn west and cross over I-680 for the rolling climbs on Lake Herman Rd. This two lane back road has minimal traffic with views of the rolling hillsides and the local refineries! The road leads to Lake Herman Recreation Area; there are porta-potties but NO water.

Continue west on Lake Herman Rd to the cattle ranch and farm buildings around Sky Valley.

From the Sky Valley, there is a short climb towards quarry at Syar Industries; it’s 0.4 mile with 6-9% grades. Lake Herman Rd ends at the outskirts of Vallejo at Columbus Pkwy.

Columbus Pkwy continues on to Blue Rock Springs Park with 4-6% grades before descending to Admiral Callaghan Ln and the Solano Bikeway.

The Solano Bikeway climbs up along I-80 through American Canyon for 2 miles with gradient ranges of 6-9% and steep pitches of 10-11%.

The bikeway exits onto McGary Rd; this road continues along I-80 with views of Sulphur Springs Valley to American Canyon Rd.

Cross over I-880 on American Canyon Rd, the road travels westward into Napa county as it drops into the city of American Canyon.

The road continues across Hwy 29 through the residential neighborhoods to Wetlands Edge Rd.

Hop onto the SF Bay Trail along Wetlands Edge Rd, the trail turns northward with views of the marshes.

The trail comes to a T junction at Eucalyptus Dr, turn left  and make your way to Wetlands Edge Park.

Continue on Eucalyptus Dr onto the Napa River Trail.

Enjoy the views of the shorebirds and wetlands!

The American Canyon Wetlands Open Space is located in and around the City of American Canyon and managed jointly by the City of American Canyon and the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District.  Following the Napa-Sonoma Marsh shoreline, the trails provide a variety of ways to explore the marshland and Napa River.  The wetlands can be accessed by the Napa River Trail, which when complete, will follow the Napa River between Wetlands Edge Drive in American Canyon to Trancas Crossing Park in the City of Napa, and by the San Francisco Bay Trail, which when completed will circle the San Francisco Bay.  The wetlands are a great place for bird watching and enjoying the sunrise or sunset. There are two entrances to the trails, one at the end of Green Island Road (where there is also a kayak and canoe launch ramp and other short unimproved levee-top trails) and the other on Wetlands Edge Road and Eucalyptus Drive where there are paved parking and porta-potties.*1

Turn left past the trail gate onto the Landfill Loop Trail, it takes you south along North Slough before returning north along the Napa River to Myrna’s Outlook picnic area.

Enjoy the views of Napa River and its surrounding mountains!

In the distance, you can see the American Canyon landfill, a mound that rises approximately 40 feet above the adjacent bay plain along the edge of the Napa River. This 300-acre site was operated as a municipal landfill from 1942 until the 1990’s, receiving trash from Napa nad Solano counties.Trash was placed first in pits dug on a drained marshland and covered, then later buried in layers interspersed with soil. Approximately 178 acres of land were restored to tidal action around the landfill. Sitting beside the river and in the wetlands, the landfill has now been closed, capped and landscaped. It has been transformed into a major recreational opportunity for the region with a multi-use trail around its base. *1

Enjoy the views of North Slough and Sulpher Springs Mountain!

At the end of the loop, turn left at the trail junction to the Napa River Trail.

The Napa River Trail heads west along the marshes to the River View picnic area.

Enjoy the views!

Go through the trail gate and stay on the Napa River Trail.

The Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area is approximately 15,200 acres or nearly 24 square miles of habitat including open water, mudflats, tidal salt, brackish and freshwater marshes and is home to a variety of fish and game that live within this protected area.  A phenomenal place to watch the sunrise or sunset, the Wildlife Area can be accessed from multiple points in Napa County including at the end of Buchli Road and Milton Road in Carneros, at the end of Green Island Road, and at the intersection of Eucalyptus Dr. and Wetlands Edge Drive in American Canyon.  Most of the wildlife area is only accessible by boat and the nearest launch is Cuttings Wharf Boat Launch.  There are trails open to hikers and bikers that travel along the levees for bird and wildlife watching.  The Wildlife Area is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and hunting and fishing are permitted in the marshes. *2

At the SF Bay Trail junction, go straight onto the Bay Trail. It continues north along the Napa River with gorgeous water views!

Enjoy the view of the marshlands and shorebirds!

Exit the Bay Trail at Green Island, turn left for the scenic out & back stroll to the Green Island Picnic Area.

Turn left at the trail junction to continue on the Bay Trail, it stays along the waterway to the end of the road with grand views of the Napa River and Green Island.

There is an optional out & back stretch along the east side of the river to the red and white outpost.

On the return to the end of the road, go straight and turn right onto Green Island Rd, it runs parallel to the Bay Trail.

Go through the gate and reverse your way back along the Bay Trail to the Napa River Trail junction.

Turn left and cross the bridge to stay on the Bay Trail, it goes around the marshes before coming to a T junction at Eucalyptus Dr.

Return on Eucalyptus Dr towards Wetlands Edge Dr, continue uphill to Donaldson Way. The road drops down through the residential neighborhoods before crossing Hwy 29 to the east edge of American Canyon.

Head south on Newell Dr, the road name changes to Flosden Rd and Fairgrounds Dr as it continues towards Hwy 37.

Fairgrounds Dr goes past Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and the Solano Fairgrounds as it continues south into the city of Vallejo.

Cross I-80 on Redwood Pkwy, the road travels east through the subdivisions to Ascot Pkwy and Columbus Pkwy.

The descent on Columbus Pkwy winds down through the subdivisions along the edge of Vallejo towards the Rose Center in Benicia.

Turn right onto the sidewalk off Rose St and take the path across I-780 to the Bay Area Ridge Trail through Benicia State Recreation Area.

Exit the trail onto W K St; the road goes along the residential neighborhoods to Benicia’s downtown waterfront area on 1st St.

Ride out to the end of the road on 1st St and stop at Benicia Point Pier. This is a great place to take in the views of the Carquinez Bridge and Benicia-Martinez Bridge, the blue waters of the Carquinez Strait and the Franklin Hills.

Meander along the trail around Benicia Marina to the exit at Turnbull Park.

Take E 5th St and Military E to Jefferson St, the road leads back to the Benicia-Martinez Bridge trail off Park Rd.

From the Benicia-Martinez Bridge, simply reverse the route back on Shell Ave and Pacheco Blvd to Morello Ave.

This is a fabulous route that takes you north from Solano county into Napa county for a scenic ride along the beautiful wetlands from American Canyon to the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area. You’ll enjoy the sight of the beautiful shorebirds and the blue waters of the Napa River!



Weather: Sunny and warm! Temps ranged from the low 60’s to the mid 80’s with sW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile


Follow this route for today’s ride:


  1. I never crease to be in awe of your productions. I don’t know how else to describe them Nancy. You are and have created a legacy for those of us who enjoy the rides and our Region. Thank you!


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