Lynch Canyon Open Space

Cranky Cattle in the Mist above Lynch Canyon on the Ridge Trail

The Bay Area Ridge Trail at Lynch Canyon Open Space Park begins on a farm road along Lynch Creek before climbing through oak-studded pastures to rocky hilltops with views of the Napa Sonoma Marsh, San Pablo Bay, Mount Tamalpais and Mount Diablo. Benches and picnic tables are placed at regular intervals along the trail. Morning fog obscured the views on the day we hiked.

We are hiking the 400-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail. Sign up to follow our progress here.

TRAIL MAP (date hiked)

  • Lynch Canyon Open Space
  • Lynch Canyon Open Space
  • Lynch Canyon Open Space
  • Lynch Canyon Open Space
  • Lynch Canyon Open Space.
  • Lynch Canyon Open Space.
  • McGary Road

Our Journal

Our hike in the grasslands above Lynch Canyon was windy, cold and damp. A sign warned that the resident cattle had recently been branded and were cranky. It all made for an uncomfortable but interesting hike.

As we tromped from the farm road into the hills, the fog-veiled trail became indistinguishable from the pasture. We eventually resorted to using the trailside benches to guide our way. Water from wet grass slowly soaked through our shoes and socks. Ick.

As we sloshed higher, we encountered small herds of sore cows. They stared discontentedly as we emerged from the fog, walked past and disappeared again. We gave them lots of room.

The fog persisted as we approached trail’s end, winding through rock outcroppings and small stands of trees shaped by the wind on the open hillsides.

We shaved at least a mile from our return to the trailhead by exploring the Kestrel and Middle Valley trails. As the sun emerged, we enjoyed watching a helicopter delivering workers to the top of a power line tower. Scary.

And speaking of scary, our hearts skipped a beat when a bull hidden behind rocks in the shade of a large oak tree about a mile from the trailhead bellowed suddenly from the shadows. As we regrouped and walked on, he kept bellowing, perhaps in triumph. Or maybe he was just sore.

NOTE: The hike along McGary Road is simply a long walk on the side of the road. We employed a one-car shuttle by walking it in opposite directions. Wear a reflective vest.

Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve. Dan Page/CoastsideSlacking

Miles we hiked


(with returns and connectors)

Elevation gain






Our Progress Hiking the Bay Area Ridge Trail – 259 out of 400 miles


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