Middle Valley and South Valley Trail

MODERATE 30 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

Middle Valley and South Valley Trail is a 3.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Vallejo, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
452 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

horseback riding

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

From Interstate 80, take Hiddenbrooke or Red Top exit. Take McGary Road, the frontage road along the south side of the freeway. Turn (left if from Hiddenbrooke, right if from Red Top) at Lynch Road and pass under the freeway; follow Lynch Road to the park entrance.

hiking
4 months ago

Beware: only open Friday thru Monday 0900-1700, tried to do a hike with my son during the weekday on summer break to come to a closed sign...ugh

4 months ago

too much horse shit

7 months ago

Went several months back and it was a real mixed bag. On the one hand the location is easy to get to, the views were pretty and it offers a range of options with plenty of hills. On the other hand there were calves easily spooked that charged and created some tense moments. At this time it was also muddy and messy with trails fading in and out. I would go back again, but would do some things differently.

hiking
7 months ago

No dogs allowed. Got to the top of the 1st hill at the beginning and there was a sign that said dogs not allowed. Since when is a trail not acceptable to dogs when horses are able to use it? Myself & my group couldn't complete the hike. Fairly disappointed.

off road driving
8 months ago

NO OFF ROAD DRIVING HERE!

8 months ago

You can make it a much longer hike if wanted. Quiet and beautiful.

8 months ago

Lots of fun, quiet, away from the crowds of more popular trails. Lots of fruit trees and animals

off road driving
9 months ago

Off-road activity prohibited. Petting livestock prohibited. Must pay to park. Staging area has decent outhouse and picnic tables.. 1/5

mountain biking
Monday, June 27, 2016

I'm a amateur mountain biker ,and i consider the moderate trails great practice to get a feel for the disc brakes.I almost crashed twice .A full suspension bike would've handled this trail better.Not much to look at on the trail.

hiking
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Even though this page's description describes the Lynch Canyon Open Space as a 3.6 mi loop, there are actually a multitude of trails out here, the largest "loop" is close to 10 miles. Earlier this week (mid April) I hiked the Middle Valley/Prairie Ridge/Kestrel/South Valley trails (around 6.5 mi) and found that at the top of Pine Ridge the trail disappeared into the grass frequently. I suspect that the trails will "reappear" later in the summer after the grasses dry out and more people have walked on the trails. Since you are never really at risk of getting lost out here (find a ridge to climb and you will probably find a trail reappear somewhere below you) losing a trail, or following a fading trail, is a good opportunity to practice your navigation and trail reading skills. Watch your footing--cattle walk on the trails year round and lots of the (now dry) trails are very uneven and hard to walk on. Overall this was a good hike! Amazing views! I will probably do again in the fall.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I hike in this park on a regular basis, and love it. You can can take an easy hike through the valleys, or get a more strenuous work out by hiking up and down over the hills. Sure there is little shade, but the usual breezes keep you cool. Also, there is an excellent panoramic view of the north bay and the Napa Valley. You see few people, so this park is like a little bit of wilderness in my own back yard. I do have 2 minor complaints. Lynch Canyon is only open Friday thru Monday, and it does not open until 9 am.

mountain biking
Sunday, July 12, 2015

I have hiked this trail before but this time I decided to ride my bike. Now, I had seen someone ride a road bike last time so I figured it could be done somehow. I am kind of new to biking so I don't claim to be a good mountain or road biker. However, I now do about 20 miles a week.
I brought a cyclocross/gravel bike this time but I think a mountain bike is more appropriate for this space. I did about a 5 mile loop from the parking lot, down Lynch Canyon road, and then through the middle valley and south valley trails. There were several sections that were a bit too hard to pedal up and my tires weren't knobby enough for some of the ruts but overall I had a good time.
Again, this entire park has almost no shade so wear sunblock and bring a hate no matter what you do.
Also, I am not sure if the parking fee just changed but it is now $6 which is overkill to me for just a few hours. Below is a video I did so you can see much of the space.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Nice open meadow but having to avoid mine fields of cow diarrhea, mean cows who'd chase you from the trails and running into garden snake. It was my first time hiking this Canyon and will be my last.

hiking
Saturday, February 28, 2015

Although it was a bit windy, I went ahead and hike the entire perimeter of this trail today. The first couple miles (3) was very pleasant: rolling hill sides and very scenic views. However, the last 6 or so miles wasn't as pleasant, mainly because the path (cow path) was really trodden, which is to be expected when one is hiking in , for all intensive purposes, a cattle pasture. I didn't have any problem dodging cow poo, or even walking around the many cattle frolicking about. I'm merely stating that the "trail" was rough on the feet is all. And speaking of the trail, I think the Park Services need to do a better job of marking it. I saw several people who were lost/turned around. Anyways, I would rate the trail as moderate overall, and would not recommend it to anyone who has week ankles.

mountain biking
Saturday, September 13, 2014

Went on a Monday. Only 3 other people there. 1 bike 2 hikers. Went on a breezy day. Hot days not recommended. Out of parking lot went left. South valley trail. nice workout on the hills. nice view of hwy 80. Then went past a group of cows. Walked around them did not want to spook them. To middle valley trail. then left to lynch road to the reservoir. Then back to parking lot. Very nice ride if you want a workout and not technical stuff. If you realize this is a working ranch the cow and horse poo is to be expected. share the land folks. several live stock gates on the trails so please secure them after going through. If you like to be alone on a trail and get a workout go here on a Monday if you can. A breezy day helps as well.

hiking
Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Super quiet. Didn't run into a single person. Did a 6 mile hike. I feel it was a moderate one. Beautiful views. Only downside is the amount of cow and horse poop on the trails.

trail running
Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Visited Lynch Canyon for a trail run this morning (Tuesday, 8 April 2014). The park was closed...it is only open Saturday-Monday. No worries...you can park right outside the gate and hop the gate to gain access to the trails. Note: I don't recommend this as the best course of action. The area outside the gate is a no parking area. While your vehicle is not visible from the road, I am sure the local police patrol the area. Once inside, I grabbed a trail map from the kiosk and took off on a circuit around the park, in this order: Lynch Road to the reservoir (small pond), then up the Tower Trail to the North Ridge Trail, across the Saddle Trail to the Prairie Ridge Trail, left on the Kestrel Trail, right on the South Valley Trail back to the parking lot. All told, about 7.5 miles. The trail is mostly single track and clearly used b horseback riders. In several places the horses have torn up the trail so much I had to stop and walk or risk turning an ankle. Also, the trails were surprisingly wet...small streams running in a few locations and very muddy areas in others. While the park is closed, cows are allowed to wander freely in the area. A few times I had to walk to allow the herds to move off of the trail. One particular momma cow was not happy and briefly charged me. You also need to pay attention to the frequent cow pies and horse poo that litters the area. In a few places the trail disappears and you run cross-country in the general direction you believe the trail to follow. This happened on the Kestrel Trail and the North Ridge Trail. Both times it was fairly easy to figure out. No need to bring a compass or topo map. The trails are well-signed, especially at the trail intersections, but make sure to grab a trail map before you head out. The hills are awesome...good hill workout if you are into that, and the views are pretty cool too. All in all a good run, but only three stars because of the condition of the trail.

mountain biking
Thursday, August 08, 2013

I went there last week and it was closed, it's only open on weekends from 9-5 and I went on a Wednesday. I jumped the gate to take a ride anyways but I only rode around for a bit. They let their cattle loose so I just left and went to Rockville in Fairfield. I also found some sites that says its open daily and that a ranger is there to collect the $5 for parking. When you show up there is a sign asking you to place $5 in a envelope and slip it in a box, so no there is no ranger. The sign also says that if you get hurt out there you're on your own. Even though I jumped the gate I still put my $5 in lol

hiking
Friday, June 28, 2013

This is a great hike! There is so much history here. This area was occupied by Native Americans BC.
There is a location of stone tables with grinding holes under a large Oak tree cluster.
Many raptors to see. Two Golden Eagles spotted on my last hike.
Its nice but very hot in Summer. No shade.

hiking
Friday, July 20, 2012

I went on this trail twice. The first time I only did the lower, easy part that goes by the resevoir, I think it's called Lynch Road. It is very easy and I just went out to the resevoir to see the cows grazing and came back, about 30 minutes of an easy walk. Nothing special. When I went back the second time I took the Middle Valley trail to the Tower and Northridge Trail. I recommend getting the booklet at the sign in area before entering. It maps out all the trails and make sure you pay attention when crossing by the little signs, that will help you remain on the part of the trail you desire.

I'd say it is a moderate trail to hike, so you feel like you are actually getting a workout.
It offers a beautiful view, I loved the open feel, it is a nice summer hike both times I went the weather was cool. It's close enough to Vallejo to get the ocean breeze. I'm not sure but I think the water view is of San Pablo Bay nice!! Make sure you leave your dog at home, they are not allowed on this trail. There is a cherry tree and quite a few blackberry bushes growing. I picked a few, delicious!

This hike can get very windy, so it might be cooler than you think!

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