Solano: Lynch Canyon-Newell Canyon Open Space Loop Trail Hike

Monday, January 16, 2017

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Lynch Canyon Open Space Park is a hilly, natural landscape with 10 miles of trails for hiking, bird watching, trail running, horseback riding and mountain biking. Lynch Canyon is defined by its steeply rolling hills, blanketed with grasslands and accented with groves of buckeyes and evergreen oaks. Lynch Creek drains this enclosed watershed and flows into Suisun Marsh. Grasslands, oak groves, riparian woodlands, and wetland meadows provide shelter and forage for deer, fox, bobcat, waterfowl, and many raptors. The 900-foot ridges offer panoramic views extending from the Coast Ranges to San Francisco Bay and across the Delta to the Sierra Nevada. The park includes a segment of the San Francisco Bay Area Ridge Trail, with gorgeous views from its ridgetops across large swaths of the Suisun Marsh, Carquinez Strait, and San Pablo Bay. Inviting picnic tables dot the trails of this pastoral landscape. *1

This hike heads west across Lynch Canyon Open Space to its park boundary before making a clockwise loop around the adjacent Newell Open Space Preserve. The return east travels along the top of the ridge to Lynch Reservoir. Begin this hike from Lynch Canyon Staging Area parking lot. Enter through the trail gate and straight onto Lynch Rd, this trail takes you across the flat valley towards Middle Valley Trail.

Begin this hike from Lynch Canyon Staging Area parking lot. Enter through the trail gate and continue straight onto Lynch Rd, this trail takes you across the flat valley towards Middle Valley Trail.

At the trail junction, turn left onto Middle Valley Trail. The trail travels west through the open valley floor. Middle Valley Trail (1.5 miles – moderate) follows the south fork of Lynch Creek with short but steep climbs. Shade is frequent and a picnic table is located about halfway. *2

At the Bobcat Trail junction, go straight to stay on Middle Valley Trail. It continues with a gentle climb through the scattered woodland to the west end of Bobcat Trail. Bobcat Trail (0.2 miles – easy) provides an easy, alternate route that is less steep than Middle Valley Trail. *2

Middle Valley Trail cuts across the open grasslands to the Tower Trail junction.

Go straight to stay on Middle Trail, it winds uphill with views of grazing cattle and the ridgetop transmission towers.

Cross the cattle gate, the trail continues uphill on a gentle grade as it winds through the upper valley to the information kiosk at Prairie Ridge/ Ken Poerner Trail junction.

Go right and follow the sign pointing towards Prairie Ridge Trail.

The slight uphill leads to the next junction, turn right onto Saddle Trail. The trail heads up towards the ridge on a moderate grade. Saddle Trail (0.3 miles – easy) connects the Bay Area Ridge Trail. *2

Saddle Trail levels out along the ridgeline with gorgeous views of the rolling hills and valleys.

The trail continues westward atop the beautiful ridge with expansive views of the grassy upper meadows, scattered windswept oaks, and stock ponds.

Saddle Trail continues past a rocky overlook to the scenic picnic area and information kiosk before reaching the Prairie Ridge Trail junction.

Go straight on Saddle Trail to the park boundary sign. The trail exits the park as it crosses the grasslands into Napa County onto the Loop Trail-North at Newell Open Space Preserve.

Loop Trail-North (marked Upper Loop-East Loop on map) travels southwards around the transmission towers with views of the Napa-American Canyon marshlands.

The wide trail winds around the open hillsides with wonderful views of Praire Ridge from above. Prairie Ridge Trail (1.7 miles – difficult) provides fantastic views after a difficult climb, but is fairly level atop the ridge. The wind is severe on the exposed ridge, as evidenced by the leaning trees. Part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. *2

Loop Trail-North/East Loop drops down towards the lower valley. At the trail split, turn right onto Southeast Loop, it continues downhill to the Newell Open Space picnic area.

At the Newell Loop Trail junction, turn right onto Loop Trail North (North Loop on map). North Loop turns eastward as it heads uphill with a moderate climb along the creek to the eucalyptus grove.

The trail leads you out of the lower canyon area back towards Lynch Canyon Open Space Park.

At the cattle gate, turn left along the stock pond onto the unmarked Saddle Trail. The trail takes you around the hillside to the North Ridge Trail junction.

Turn right onto North Ridge Trail. The uphill climb leads you back into Lynch Canyon Open Space. North Ridge Trail (1.6 miles – difficult) traces the ridge top with steep climbs and great views. Picnic tables along the way provide a secluded rest. Part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. *2

North Ridge Trail travels along the ridge top with spectacular views of the soft rolling hills.

Picnic tables and benches are strategically places along the ridge for your optimal viewing pleasure.

North Ridge Trail heads east with a series of gentle roller coaster climbs.

Enjoy the magnificent panoramic views!

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North Ridge Trail continues along the ridge with continual expanding views of the gentle rolling hills.

Lynch Reservoir comes into view as North Ridge Trail merges onto Tower Trail.

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Go straight and continue on Tower Trail. Tower Trail (1.0 miles – difficult from the east side) climbs steeply to the North Ridge Trail with no shade. Great views. *2  We’re heading east, so the trail drops down from the ridge with wonderful views of the reservoir.

At Reservoir Trail junction, stay on Tower Trail. It continues down into the valley to the next Reservoir Trail junction.

Turn left onto Reservoir Trail for a quick jaunt out to Lynch Reservoir.

Enjoy the views!

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Retrace your steps back along Reservoir Trail to Tower Trail.

Continue east on Tower Trail to Lynch Rd.  Lynch Road heading north (0.7 miles – easy) parallels Lynch Creek to the reservoir overlook. *2  

The road leads out to the open valley meadows past the working corrals and picnic area.

Lynch Rd winds back along the valley to the staging area parking lot.

Explore the 1,039 acres to experience some of the most spectacular views in Solano County! This park, a favorite among visitors, provides cooler temperatures and breezes, even on the hottest days. Enjoy this land. It’s your land.*1

The park has a restroom and parking lot, including room for equestrian rigs.  Sorry, dogs are not allowed, due to active cattle grazing at the park. The park has no drinking water — please come prepared with your own. *Due to adverse trail conditions, the Ken Poerner and the Kestrel Trail will be closed until further notice.*1 

**The trails are fairly muddy from the recent rains, it’s a good idea to bring an extra pair of shoes to change into after the hike.

*1 http://www.co.solano.ca.us/depts/rm/countypark/lynchcyn.asp
*2 http://www.solanolandtrust.org/uploads/pdf/Other/LC%20brochure/Lynch%20Canyon%20brochure_11-2013.pdf

Stats:
8.14 Miles with 1442′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 839′
Time: 4.25 hours with multiple stops
Hike: Easy-moderate
Parking: $6 fee at Lynch Canyon Staging Area parking lot at 3100 Lynch Rd in Fairfield
Porta-potty.NO water. Bring your own water & food/snacks
No Dogs Allowed

Weather: Sunny, cool and breezy. Temps ranged from the mid 40’s to the low 50’s with NE winds

Print Trail Map 

lynch-canyon

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