Rush Ranch Open Space – Suisun Hill Trail

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Rush Ranch Open Space is a few miles south of Suisun City in southern Solano County. About 2000 acres in size, it is next to Suisun Marsh and not far from Grizzly Island Wildlife Area. There are 3 hiking trails. On a previous visit I had walked two of the trails, and on this visit I walked the third, the Suisun Hill Trail, whose trailhead is just across Grizzly Island Rd from the main entrance to Rush Ranch. It was a pleasant day for a hike, with the temperature about 80 degrees.

The Suisun Hill Trail is a short 1.7-mile semi-loop that goes over and around Suisun Hill, a 212-foot hill at the northwest end of the Potrero Hills. After I completed the loop I continued along Grizzly Island Rd for about ¼ mile before returning to my car, marked by the orange dot on the GPS track.

GPS track

GPS track

The trail is relatively compact. There is a short access trail before the loop proper starts. I decided to go left, to travel around the loop in a clockwise direction. Way-finding is straightforward, with “Trail” and arrow signage at each junction (there are a few alternatives). And along the trail there are unmarked 4×4 posts that serve to mark the trail. Traveling clockwise, the trail immediately climbs to the top of the nearby hill, which is Suisun Hill. So I arrived at the highest elevation of the hike quickly, just 0.4 mile from the trailhead.

Elevation profile

Elevation profile

Because much of the immediate surrounding area is sea-level marshland, the top of a 200-foot hill actually affords some nice views. The row of hills in this view is the Potrero Hills, in their seasonal golden brown hue. They would be lovely in the rainy season. At the right (southeast) end of the hills it is barely possible to see a few of the windmills in the large Shiloh Wind Power Plant.

picture of Potrero Hills from Suisun Hill

Potrero Hills from Suisun Hill

Looking toward Suisun City there is a nice view across Suisun Marsh, with Suisun Slough making a pretty pattern and the Vaca Mountains behind.

photo of Suisun Slough and Suisun Marsh from Suisun Hill

Suisun Slough and Suisun Marsh from Suisun Hill

You also have a birds-eye view of the Visitor Center area of Rush Ranch. Two other trails, the Marsh and South Pasture loop trails, start at the Visitor Center.

image of Rush Ranch

Rush Ranch

About 25 miles to the south, Mt Diablo rises dramatically, 3800 feet higher than the intervening marshland and bays. From the relatively high (200-foot) vantage point of Suisun Hill, the connected Suisun, Grizzly, and Honker Bays at the Sacramento River delta are visible.

picture of Mt Diablo across the bays at the delta of the Sacramento River

Mt Diablo across the bays at the delta of the Sacramento River

The hilltop has a couple of benches and sign posts for signage, not currently present. The benches are Boy Scout projects. After enjoying the views I continued along the loop trail down the hill and toward the north end of the loop, where there is a trail junction. At the junction there is a livestock water trough – at least that’s what I presumed it to be. In the picture the Vaca Mountains make a pretty backdrop.

photo of water trough with the Vaca Mountains in the background

Water trough with the Vaca Mountains in the background

I followed the trail signs along a curve to the south. After about 0.3 mile there was a side trail that angled back up the hillside. I walked up this trail, just to confirm that it intersected the loop trail where I thought it did, and returned to the main loop. After completing the loop I returned along the short access trail to my car. I still wanted to explore a bit more, so I walked up Grizzly Island Rd for about ¼ mile. Alongside the road there were a few wildflowers, including this purple star thistle. While I recognize that star thistles are considered invasive plants, the flower is still pretty.

image of purple star thistle along Grizzly Island Rd

Purple star thistle along Grizzly Island Rd

I also found this pretty yellow flower. The blossom bunches are at the top of quite long (perhaps 24-inch) stems.

picture of yellow flower along Grizzly Island Rd

Yellow flower along Grizzly Island Rd

One of the reasons I walked up the road was to see if I could get a different perspective on the Potrero Hills. What I discovered was that I got a different perspective on Suisun Hill! From this perspective I’d say it is a pretty gentle and mellow hill.

photo of Suisun Hill from Grizzly Island Rd

Suisun Hill from Grizzly Island Rd

Though my hike was only 2.2 miles and I took my time to enjoy the views, it turned out to be a pleasant hour-long interlude.

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2 Responses to Rush Ranch Open Space – Suisun Hill Trail

  1. Pingback: Rush Ranch Open Space – Marsh and South Pasture Trails | trailhiker

  2. Pingback: Birding at Rush Ranch | trailhiker

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