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Gates Canyon is a 7.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Vacaville, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and bird watching. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 7.8 mi Elevation gain 2,007 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Partially paved

Views

Wildlife

Muddy

Description
Waypoints (4)

This is a paved scenic trail that quickly increases in grade and difficulty as you approach the summit of Mount Vaca, the highest point in Solano County. Although Gates Canyon is often illegally posted with “No Trespassing” signs to prevent reaching Blue Ridge Road, public access is confirmed by the Solano County Surveyors Office. There are also Fire Department gates across Blue Ridge Road that are closed during periods of extreme fire danger, but should be open otherwise.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (98)
Photos (53)
Recordings (63)
Completed (139)
Alison A.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 29, 2020
HikingPrivate property

Start Point/End Point: Parked at the small dirt turn out @ intersection of Gates Canyon Rd. + Pleasants Valley Road. Gives you the most comprehensive hike, adds distance. Ended midway on Blue Ridge Trail road @ the double cell towers. Distance: ~11.5 miles (5.77 each way, see photo). Grade: Small rolling hills until 2.5 miles in, then steep grade begins. Enough flat areas to give you a break. Time: 5 hours. Recommended? yes! Great work out, good views, unorthodox trail, would be great for hill training for runners, will make your bum and hamstrings very sore the next day! Info: So, it is true that it is mostly an asphalt road that sometimes it turns into a gravel road, but don’t let that fool you… This is still a very lovely, challenging hike and you are still a part of nature. First, you are walking through orchards which is absolutely beautiful as well as through foothills that have cattle and sheep. Afterwards, you will go through sections of tree covered road that gives a great amount of shade. You will finally approach the main Vistapoint that I believe most people stop at. It will be on your left-hand side and it looks like a dirt crop circle that people do donuts in. Afterwards, if you try to make it to Blue Ridge Road, it becomes difficult to know when Gates Canyon Road ends and blue ridge road begins. You will pass 2 single cell phone towers (2nd one has lots of graffiti) on the right and then a gaggle of 4 cell phone towers next to each other on the left, and eventually if you go a little further you will be at a point where a cell phone tower is on your left and right hand side. That is where we stopped. There is a beautiful vista point that gives you great views of Lake Curry just before that first cell tower. Would recommend that as a stopping point. Few abandoned structures, but they are far off the trail and not imposing or scary. Private property signs well posted for peoples private driveways, lots of fencing to prevent you from accidentally walking into their yard. You can do this hike in athletic gear. Becomes exposed, so wear sunblock. Had 2-3 cars pass, but you hear them coming from a mile away. Bring a full 3L if you can, you will be happy you did. Saw 4 others hiking within our time there.

nkechi Nwoye
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 8, 2020
No shade

I parked by the side of the road. Great workout! Be ready for crazy incline. I saw just one couple hiking my whole time there, I'll suggest going with a buddy for safety bc there are 2 "houses" and 2 or 3 abandoned cars once you pass civilization. I didn't see anyone in the house or in the car but I didn't feel safe. Overall, great hike, I would recommend.

Rosie Toy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 7, 2020
No shade
Rebecca Cahoon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 31, 2020
Hiking

The parking was available just off Pleasant Valley Road. I walked in, and the first almost 3 miles was beautiful. Then the incline really starts and keeps going until you reach the cell towers. It took me just about 6 miles to reach the first tower. It’s a good hike up hill for a long time. Pack a lunch and enjoy the view on top.

Nicolas Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 31, 2020
Hiking

I'm relatively new to hiking, the trail was challenging but doable and it had an amazing view from the top.

Valerie Tzeo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 23, 2020
HikingClosed

Great trail but not for beginners. A lot of incline.

Teresa Perez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 22, 2020
Bugs

nice walk with cars on trail/road

Parrish Frisbee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 18, 2020
HikingMuddy

Was a good workout for both my dog and I. Watch out for cars and a few motorbikes that fly around the curves. Parking wasn’t super clear so I parked on a pull-off by some houses. Was very foggy and damp the day I went so didn’t see much, and came down pretty quickly after seeing some very fresh (what I though were) bear prints in mud...

Mary Yamaguchi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 16, 2020

I'm a beginner, just got done. Its nice hike, alot of incline for those who enjoy it. Great workout but not 5.5 miles. 7.85 for us.

Daniela Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 15, 2020

It was a nice hike but it is definitely not 5.5 miles. My son and I walked to the first cell tower and it was 7.29 miles round trip.

Adam Childers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 11, 2020
Hiking

Great hike! I parked immediately when turning off Pleasants Valley onto Gates Canyon which made the hike ~8 miles/2.5 hours total to the lookout & back but was well worth it! The trail is more of a road as you see private properties & cars go past but it is not that trafficked. It starts walking past orchards, a creek and pastures. As you steadily climb it gets more rigorous. 4ish miles in & you turn around on a steep hill to see the gorgeous Gates Canyon behind you but don’t stop — just 2 more bends & you come to a gorgeous flat lookout clearly marked with boulders. Definitely recommend this one!

Noemi Naranjo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 6, 2020
HikingBugs

This was a fun trail didn’t finish since I was with my young niece . It’s just a bit confusing because the trail is just a one way road ..?? You’ll see many houses and private property on the way there so just be careful not to end up on someone’s lawn . Perhaps it changes to more of a trail the farther you go . Also you have to park on the side of the road .

View Noemi's Recording
Seth Jacobs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 3, 2020
Hiking

I would suggest parking at the intersection of Gates Canyon and Pleasant Valley Road. It does add about a mile each way but it’s a pretty area and the grade is mild. The posted route ends at an overlook but not at the top of the canyon.

View Seth's Recording
Stephanie Huang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 18, 2020
HikingBugsNo shade
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Kylie Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 18, 2020
Hiking

Trail is mostly on a road some paved, some gravel. The view from the top is very nice!

View Kylie's Recording
Bob Wakelee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 16, 2020
Hiking

From where this says to park and start your hike to the towers on Blue Ridge was 8.6mile round trip and ~1800’ elevation gain. A lot longer than I had planned, but the ridge has some spectacular views.

Sir Taylor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 13, 2020
Hiking

Very pleasant walk. Trial/Road become step around 2.5 mike marker, but enjoyed by the whole family.

View Sir's Recording
Matthew Boys
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 12, 2020
Hiking

Not really a trail, just a road that you can hike on for some great exercise. The last section gets very steep but it is doable. Beautiful views, fog rolls in quick. We saw salamanders, California newts, A skunk, many squirrels, lots of deer, and a banana slug. Excellent way to keep your social distance in these uncertain times.

View Matthew's Recording
Pranay Bonagiri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 13, 2020
Hiking

Paved road that turns into gravel. No parking lot.

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Melissa Newton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 11, 2020
Hiking

Very steep. We parked at 3200 canyon gate at a pullout. From there to the view point and back was about 3.4 miles.

View Melissa's Recording
Arley H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 15, 2020
Hiking

paved and gravel road. up hill all the way to mount Vacaville. Hard on knees coming down. Can be driven car.

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Marie M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 13, 2020
Hiking

Like several of these reviews say, this isn’t your typical dirt trail hike. It’s mostly a paved one-way road that turns into gravel. I lead a hiking group so I was out here scoping the place out and went ahead and drove all the way to the top. Not sure I would have felt comfortable parking my car at one of the turnouts because there isn’t any signs for designated parking and I would worry about being towed being so close to private property. Regardless, clearly people have parked their vehicles and walked to the top. Would I? Most likely no because it is very steep and I would probably rate this “hike” as strenuous if you are starting from the bottom. HOWEVER, once you get to the top, the views are awesome. So kudos to you who make it up there on foot. I’ve lived in Vacaville for 31 years and didn’t realize this gem was in my backyard. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Dominique M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 3, 2020
Hiking

This is a HARD climb up a paved road. We ended up driving higher than where the parking lot it (more of a gravel area than a lot). The view is wonderful from the top but don’t know if it’s worth it!

Angelo Rodriguez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 27, 2020
Hiking

dope view. i’d come back to bike the hill or even drive up just to see the top with friends.

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Monique Strootman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 18, 2020

if you wanna walk just 5.5, put a 3200 Canyon Gates address.. the lot is past the address on the directions

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Mae Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 15, 2020
HikingMuddy

This is a muddy road and at times you feel like you’re disturbing the people who live in the neighborhood. My dogs and I went a mile up and back to a point where it almost felt like we were on private property with broken down trailers and cars - almost eerie. It’s definitely not a trail.

View Mae 's Recording
Amanda Mamo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 11, 2019
Hiking

I used the directions but kept driving past the start point until I came to the gravel lot on the right across from a house. From there it took me an hour to the top. Pretty steep hills but great final view! I went on a Tuesday afternoon and only came across 3 cars coming down. Always have an ear out for cars because they come down pretty quick. You could drive up to the top but it's a one lane road.

Megan Bernards
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 22, 2019
Hiking

Prior reviews are very helpful. Thank you! I agree that the distance is a bit arbitrary depending on your starting point. I wasn't sure where to start myself. I did pass that gravel lot mentioned but kept driving. I parked my little car at a bend in the road, next to a pull-out and a creek. Yes, the road alternates between dirt, gravel, and asphalt all the way up. It is really steep and occasionally levels off for a moment. I was the only hiker that day and I hiked all the way up to the radio/telephone towers. My roundtrip total mileage was 7.2 miles. The view was worth the hike!

Katie Baxendale
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2019
Hiking

Favorite trail. Lots of shade. Lots of cows and butterflies and views from the top are spectacular. Gets more Challenging after 2.5 mile mark. You can park at 1.8 miles up in a gravel lot and hike up from there and it’s a great butt workout. Be careful coming down and beware mountain lions for they do exist there!

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