Potrero Hills P300
Suisun Hill
Peak 945ft P300
Peak 990ft P500
Cup and Saucer P300
Yountville Hills P300

May 26, 2023
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPX Profile


This was the first full day of a short roadtrip around some North Bay counties, today in Solano and Napa Counties. I'd spent the night parked along Grizzly Island Rd on the south side of the Potrero Hills where I planned to start my day.

Potrero Hills - Suisun Hill

The highpoint of Potrero Hills is located on private ranchlands, open to observation for the initial hike across the flat grasslands, which is why I did this first. I had gotten just over 6hrs of sleep when I arose at 5:30a, ready to head out 15min later. I could have started 45min earlier with sufficient light to see by. My route across the flats starting from Beldons Landing went uncomfortably close to two homes to the east, and I was really wishing for that earlier start. On my way back, I saw a truck leaving the lower of the two homes, making me pause until he was turned away and out of sight. My route went across three barbed-wire fences, one at the start, a second at the end of the flats where I started up a shallow draw, and a third near the highpoint. The ground on the whole route was uneven from the trampling of cattle hooves in muddy conditions (almost all the ground I covered was dry today, thankfully). Once past the second fence, I was out of view and could relax for the climb up to the summit, taking about 25min to reach the highpoint. Despite overcast skies, there were nice views overlooking Grizzly Island and Bay to the south, Fairfield and Travis AFB to the north. I was happy to return without incident, the outing coming in at less than an hour.

I next drove about 3mi back up the road to the Rush Ranch OSP. Suisun Hill is a minor summit at the west end of the Potrero Hills, all on public lands. It took less than 10min to make my way to the summit, another grass-covered hill overlooking the North Bay marshes and wetlands.

Peak 945ft - Peak 990ft

This was the only serious outing of the day, an 8mi effort with 1,500ft of gain. Most of the route was within the Lynch Canyon Open Space, while Peak 945ft was outside, on private ranchlands to the east. I had spent some time having breakfast at a Starbucks in Fairfield, but not enough, apparently. The gate to Lynch Ranch was closed when I arrived before the 9a opening time, giving me a few more minutes to rest up. The ranger showed up 15min early, and I was headed out soon after driving in and paying the $8 fee. I followed the trail (old ranch road) north towards the reservoir, leaving at a gate with the adjacent property where I could follow a PG&E utility road all the way to the cell-tower crowned summit of Peak 945ft. After snapping a few photos, I returned to Lynch Canyon and followed park trails up to Peak 990ft at the west end of the park. Portions of these trails are part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, continuing west into the adjacent Newell OSP in Napa County (others have reported climbs from that side, only slightly longer than the Lynch Canyon route). The trail system bypasses the summit on its east side, necessitating a short climb up to the tree/rock/brush covered highpoint. There is considerable poison oak, but it wasn't too hard to avoid most of it, stepping on the stuff in a few places where I couldn't get around it. I found a register strewn among the summit rocks under the tree canopy. Evidently the lid had been chewed by critters and the booklet left by David Sanger in 2020 shredded. I tucked it back in the rocks, but it isn't very useful anymore. The return route followed the southern boundary of the park, a thinly-used route without the nice gravel path of the Middle Valley Trail I had ascended. Cattle grazing in the park are completely used to humans, and only a few of them bothered to raise their fat asses out of the grass on my passing. I spent about three and quarter hours on the outing at a leisurely pace. There were other vehicles in the lot on my return, but I saw no one on the trails I traveled during that time.

Cup and Saucer

This is a small hill on the east side of the city of Napa, mostly covered in upscale homes. The highpoint is occupied by one of the homes. A nearby water tank just below is as high as one can get without getting really creepy. Alternately, one could drive up the private driveway that serves the homes at the top, make a circle, and call it good. Traffic getting into, and through Napa was quite heavy, apparently due to the Bottlerock music festival starting today. Lots of signs posted along the streets up to Cup and Saucer saying No Bottlerock Parking. Lots of vehicles driving around looking for free parking to avoid the $35-$65 parking rates I saw near the venue.

Yountville Hills

This standalone hill rises to the north of Yountville in the middle of Napa Valley. I took the same route used by David Sanger and Kerry Breen a week apart in 2017, starting from the south at a community park. I went through the adjacent cemetery and then a corner of a vineyard above that, before making my way to the untamed South Ridge which can be followed to the summit. The route is mostly open, but there is some poison oak in the more forested upper half, and the grass and thistles are quite tall, too. It took 45min to make my way up and back from the summit. I picked a great deal of thistles from my boots and socks on this one - I'd hoped Napa County would still be green, but it appears to be drying up quickly since the rains ended a month ago.

Dan BM

This last summit is an easy one on the west side of Napa. The summit is located in Westwood Hills Park, the Summit Trail taking one to the highpoint in about 3/4mi. Lots of people using the extensive trail system in the park, though most of them appear to be heading to the top. The forested park was wonderfully cool, at least until the more open slopes near the summit are encountered. There are 3 view benches overlooking the city to the east. The highpoint appears to be at the park boundary fence with a pricey home and a cell tower on the south side of the fence. I finished up shortly after 4p and called it a day. Finding a suitable place to car camp in Napa Valley could be challenging...


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