Newell and Lynch Canyon OSPs

Newell Open Space Preserve

Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve; california; napa county; newell open space preserve; north bay; san francisco bay area; solano county Just off the left of the picture is large subdivision. About half a mile into the trail, you lose sight of it.

Just off the left of the picture is a large subdivision. About half a mile into the trail, you lose sight of it.

Fifteen years in the making, Newell Open Space Preserve opened during the Summer of 2014. The land, 620 acres, was donated by Jack and Bernice Newell to the City of American Canyon in 1999. We found the park staring at Google maps, looking for a place we haven’t already hiked. And boy were we glad we did!

Though an “informal” parking area exists along Newell Drive, it appeared to be under construction during our visit. Unable to park there, we decided to park in the subdivision. We didn’t see any signs prohibiting parking and made sure to be as quiet and respectful as possible to the residents.

The Creekside Trail passes through a panhandle then veers East becoming the Valley Trail. After a little over a mile, these terminate at a picnic area. A porta-potty and a few picnic tables were available, but there’s no drinking water anywhere in the park.

Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve; california; napa county; newell open space preserve; north bay; san francisco bay area; solano county The trees on the ridge were greatly windswept, and so were we by the end of the hike.

The trees on the ridge were greatly windswept, and so were we by the end of the hike.

The Loop Trail starts where the Valley Trail ends. You can choose to stay entirely within the boundaries of Newell by completing the loop, then following the Valley and Creekside Trails back to your car for an approximately 5-mile hike.

Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve; california; napa county; newell open space preserve; north bay; san francisco bay area; solano county This tree has clearly seen some windy days.  As another storm rolled through, its held its ground.

This tree has clearly seen some windy days. As another storm rolled through, its held its ground.

Lynch Canyon Open Space Park

We decided to follow the Southeast Loop Trail and cross into neighboring Lynch Canyon Open Space Park. This 1,039-acre preserve is operated by the Solano Land Trust and has 10 miles of multi-use trail, including a section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The park is only open Friday through Monday, 9am to 5pm, so plan accordingly.

From the parking area, it’s an 800-foot climb up to the Prairie Ridge, topping out at about 930 feet, with sweeping vistas of the surrounding lands. This is followed by a steep 300-foot descent to the South Valley Trail.

Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve; california; napa county; newell open space preserve; north bay; san francisco bay area; solano county The rolling hillsides provide a buffer between highway 80 and American Canyon.

The rolling hillsides provide a buffer between highway 80 and American Canyon.

There’s little shade here, but you will get great views of rolling hills, hiding the busy I-80 from view.

Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve; california; napa county; newell open space preserve; north bay; san francisco bay area; solano county Despite the heavy rain, this eroded fold did not carry water.

Despite the heavy rain, this eroded fold did not carry water.

After a quick snack break and pit stop (pit toilets available) at the Lynch Canyon Staging Area, we took a round-about way to get to the Lynch Reservoir.

Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve; california; napa county; newell open space preserve; north bay; san francisco bay area; solano county The slow moving creek seemed glad to welcome the rains.

The slow moving creek seemed glad to welcome the rains.

The most direct rout to this scenic body of water is Lynch Road, but we decided to see more of the park and take the Middle Valley and Tower Trail to get there.

The North Ridge and Saddle Trails took us back to Prairie Ridge Trail. Unfortunately, the views ended for us somewhere on the North Ridge as the fog crept in on us. Fortunately, the fog gave the landscape an enchanted appearance and kept us cool.

Descending back into Newell OSP, we completed the park’s loop along the North Loop Trail and headed out the way we came, barely escaping an “incident”. Trying not to disturb the nightlife, we kept our headlamps off and barely managed to notice a skunk hanging out by the roadside. Luckily, he ran off without giving us an unforgettable warning.

Whether you’re trail running, hiking, mountain biking, or want a nice place for a picnic, Newell OSP and Lynch Canyon OSP can provide exactly what you need. As always, remember to leave only footprints and take only pictures.

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