Solano County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: January 14, 2007
Author: Ben Stein

The Mix Canyon Road gate was closed with a fresh, large "No Trespassing" sign. It is a neat drive up the canyon and an interesting area to explore, as the road connects to Blue Ridge Road and wanders through some nice country. However, I couldn't find another approach to the HP from this northern side. There was also a surprising amount of traffic moving quickly on this narrow road.

So I drove down and went up Gates Canyon Road to try from the south. This worked well. This road (like Mix Canyon Road) narrows to one lane in many places but has much less traffic. It is freshly paved beyond the gate at 3.5 miles. This gate is ambiguously signed and was open, so I continued. There are "No Trespassing" signs but they appear to be for the land next to the gate and not the road itself. The road continues paved for another mile to just below the ridge. At this point, it forks and the northern fork is gated, unsigned, and the pavement ends. There was enough room for a car to park here without blocking traffic. From here it is a half mile or so to the highpoint. Solano County now owns some land on the southern side of the highpoint and it may be that Gates Canyon Road is access to that. I'll try to follow up to clarify that.

It was sunset as I reached the top and it was absolutely beautiful. The valley was fairly clear and the view included Mount Diablo to the south, Mount Tamalpais to the west, the snow capped Sierras to the east and the Sutter Buttes to the northeast. On a really clear day, I wonder if you can see Lassen? Anyway, this is a worthy highpoint even if it has been flattened for the communication towers. The puddles were frozen and I ended up running back to the car to try to get warm.

Later, I spoke with Solano County Public Works about Gates Canyon Road. The county does own land that was recently acquired as surplus federal property near the CoHP but not including the HP itself, which is under or beside a communication tower. The land is currently managed by the county general services people and is not yet open to the public nor are there any announced plans for this land (which is a shame as the views are spectacular but also understandable due to the narrow access road and probable issues with security and neighbors). Access to this land would be via Gates Canyon Road.

The road above the first gate is owned and maintained by the county. It is now nicely paved. The person I spoke with says it hasn't been locked in the last six months since it was paved but he wasn't clear about public access. Perhaps it is best left unclear.