Peak 719ft P300
Lopez Ecc BM P750
Peak 1,129ft P300

May 6, 2023

With: Jackie Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

Jackie and I drove about an hour north to Solano County for some tame peakbagging that we could do in the wet weather lingering over the Bay Area for the past few days. While much of the Diablo Range has turned to a golden brown, the hills in the North Bay remain a vibrant green, much of the ground still holding a good deal of the water that fell generously over the state this year. All of the days' peaks are rounded hills, covered in grass with very few trees, ideal grazing terrain. We didn't get an early start, hoping the grass might dry some before we got to the hiking, but this didn't really pan out - our boots would be completely soaked before we were done, but with the weather steadily improving throughout the day, it turned out to be pretty enjoyable nonetheless.

Peak 719ft

This was the easiest summit of the day, a good starter since there's no cross-country. Our boots would stay dry, but they would collect a decent amount of mud. We approached from the west off Ascot Parkway, using the Bay Area Ridge Trailhead at the signed gate. It's just over half a mile to the top following the trail, going over an intermediate bump before gaining the summit where a nice view bench is located. In addition to the views of the Carquinez Straight, San Pablo Bay, and Suisun Bay to the south, there is a close view of the massive quarry on the side of Sulpher Springs Mtn South just to the north, across Lake Herman Rd. That summit was also on my list for the day, but since it's all cross-country (very wet grass at the moment) and all private, I figured I'd leave it for another day to save Jackie the stress. We spent 15min to reach the top of Peak 719ft, an equal amount for the return.

Lopez Ecc BM

This is the highpoint of the vast grazing tracts that lie between Interstates 80, 780 and 680. About 1/4 of these ranch lands have been acquired by the Solano Land Trust, not open to the public except on docent-led visits. We would approach from the northwest, using a Ben Smith track from PB. The 3mi route to the summit starts from Hiddenbrooke Park. The first 2/3 of the route goes through the Eastern Swett OSP (part of the Solano Land Trust), the last part through private ranch lands. There are no trails, per se, but there are various old ranch roads and cow paths that, combined with some cross-country sections, get you to the summit in a pleasant fashion. None of the old roads we traveled have seen vehicles in a long time, and there seems little chance of running into anyone for most of the route. There were cows grazing in a few places, but we were far enough away to keep them from even noticing us.

Starting from the park, the first of three fences to go over comes at the very start. Though surrounded by open space, the small park is completely fenced and one has to get past this first hurdle to get anywhere. We went cross-country up the slope a short distance to reach a barbed-wire fence, with an old road (shown on Google Maps as an existing road) on the other side. We would follow this north and east away from the development to follow an unnamed creek channel through the East Swett property. Where the road ends, there are cow trails on either side of the tree-lined creek that can be followed to the southeast. One eventually leaves this to begin climbing the grassy slopes, crossing a second barbed-wire fence at the boundary between the land trust and the private ranch. Though muddy or marshy in places, most of the route makes for pretty easy travel, and after a leisurely hour and a half, we found our way to the summit. The telecom installation shown on the satellite view has been removed, only some remnants remaining. We were unable to locate the benchmark shown on the topo map - probably went out with the telecom cleanup. The views are quite nice, overlooking Suisun Marsh and Bay to the east and southeast, respectively. We went back the same way with only minor variations.

Peak 1,129ft

I think Jackie would have been happy to call it quits after the last one, but I found another short one nearby that wouldn't add too much to the day. While Hiddenbrooke Park anchors the south end of the Hiddenbrooke development, Peak 1,129ft anchors the north end. A short band of Opens Space is found above the end of Overlook Drive where we parked, but most of the route, including the summit, is on private ranch land. Our route came from a Lisa Barboza track off PB, all cross-country, about 500ft up grass slopes for less than half a mile. A barbed-wire fence is crossed at the Open Space/private ranch boundary. The wind had picked up considerably in the afternoon and was blowing quite strongly, especially across the summit that we reached in less than 20min. After snapping a few photos, we beat a hasty retreat to keep from losing our hats. We finished up not long after 2p, both of us now ready to call it a day. Fun, easy day, this one.

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