Come explore the hills between Fairfield, Benicia, and Vallejo. You’ll be led by Jim Walsh and/or James Chang, both expert Solano Land Trust guides who know this area—known as the King-Swett Ranches—inside out. They’ll share insights about the birds and other wildlife that call this area home, and give you a great workout! Take advantage of this special opportunity if you can because the King-Swett Ranches are otherwise closed.
WHAT TO BE PREPARED FOR: (1) Arrive on time and be prepared to immediately carpool or caravan from the meeting place (see below) to the trailhead. (2) Reaching the trailhead may require driving 1.5 miles on rough gravel road. This may not be suitable for all vehicles. (3) Participants of all ages are welcome, but they must be prepared for the following: A fast pace hiking 4-6 miles off-trail, up and down rugged, steep, and slippery hills that are full of sticky seeds, thorny plants and poison oak. (There are very few trails and those that do exist are unimproved—expect rough, rocky, uneven ground.) (4) These are working ranches where free-range cattle roam as they please. (5) Visitors must be accompanied by a docent at all times. (6) Since the ranches are otherwise closed, the entry and exit gate will be locked except for the start and end times of the hike. (7) There is no drinking water. (8) There are no bathrooms. (9) In order to protect wildlife, cattle, and rare plants—and for your pet’s safety—dogs are not allowed. (10) Take only pictures, leave only footprints. (11) Maintain a safe distance from cattle and wildlife, and be aware that this is tick, mountain lion, poison oak, and potentially rattlesnake country.
WHAT TO BRING: (1) A backpack with plenty of water and snacks and/or a bag lunch. (2) Boots or sturdy closed-toe shoes with good grip and tough soles (to prevent falls and protect from thorns). (3) Long, sturdy pants (to protect from thorns and poison oak). (4) Layered clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. (5) Protection from the elements (sun, wind, fog, rain). (6) Also recommended: Gaiters (to protect from thorns and poison oak), hiking sticks, bug repellent, binoculars, and a camera.
MEETING PLACE: Meet Jim and/or James promptly at the (unmarked) Park-and-Ride lot where McGary Road, Hiddenbrooke Parkway, and American Canyon Road intersect (on the Hiddenbrooke side of the American Canyon/Hiddenbrooke Parkway exit, off Interstate 80). Be ready to immediately carpool or caravan from there to the trailhead.
WEATHER PLAN: Only very heavy rain cancels—call Jim at 916-870-4824 if the weather is uncertain.
REGISTRATION: RSVP (appreciated, not required) to Jim Walsh at 916-870-4824 or firstname.lastname@example.org.