On the way home from a solo trip to Tahoe I finally made the effort to drive up Mix Canyon Road to Mount Vaca. At the start of the road signs say closed and ‘locals only’. Awesome I thought, I’m from the Bay Area!
Sadly I realized why the new signs were there. Almost the entire road has burned and you can see many lost homes while making your way up to the peak area. With how much burned I’m shocked the road was still open.
All in all, I think this peak sucks. I’m not one to enjoy a drive up but hiking this wouldn’t be a good time either. It fits the bill of a bs CC peak but not quite sure why this is on the Nifty 90. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to head up here unless you’re going after county high points or you enjoy driving to a view. With the gates open you can drive all the way to the peak itself. I saw no one and google maps actually marks a Mount Vaca Trailhead at the open gate. The vibe feels very much like Loma Prieta, and you kind of just get creeped out being up there.
This was a quick trip to county highpoints for Yolo, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Sacramento, and Yuba.
We pulled up to the summit shortly after sunset. Although this was our first county high point after Mt. St. Helena, we made some stops in and around Calistoga (pioneer cemetery, Old Faithful, petrified forest, Castello di Amorosa, Morning Glory spillway), so we were a bit delayed.
It sure was nice to have a paved road most of the way, though the road is narrow with tight turns, like so many in the area.
We were able to drive almost right to the very top of the summit. Shortly before the summit we met two fellas parked with their Bronco facing downhill with BRIGHT damn lights. We first approached from the gate at the south, where we met with the fenced-in area. It looked like some worker might be at the facility as a vehicle was parked inside the fence. After taking in the city lights we then walked up from the gate to the north to be sure we hit the summit, or at least what was accessible of it.
Up Gates Canyon, down Mix Canyon
Went up to get a good vantage point of the Cold Fire.
Sutter, Cobb, Vaca, and Carpenter Benchmark today.
Made a loop out of it. Up Gates Canyon Rd, down Mix Canyon Rd. No problem with locked gates.
Pretty easy and pretty unrewarding.
After ending up with a quick gap of time between some scheduled meetings in Vacaville, I decided to wander up another county highpoint. Great views from the bay to Sutter Buttes.
Gate was open, drove right up to Tower #20. There were 3 communications company trucks parked there and workers in one of the nearby buildings. 1pm in the afternoon.
Just a quick excursion to grab another county hp. A little hazy, I might return on a super clear day as I think the views could be spectacular
The info about a "prescriptive easement" needs to be corrected. The road across the top of Mt. Vaca is Blue Ridge Road (County RD. 354) Between Mix Canyon Rd. and Gates Canyon Rd. According to the county surveyors office, the road is not maintained by the county, it is maintained by the land owners on Mt. Vaca. But, there is a public easement on this road making it county road 354. The county surveyor stated the red "no trespassing" signs at the gate are unenforceable because of this easement which was recorded in 1894. Also, the gates are placed by the fire department and only closed when fire danger is extreme. I have a PDF of the county maps and of the easement if anyone wants them, send me a message. The property on either side of the road is private however, so those signs are enforceable.
Walked up from the gate. Good views.
Hiked from gate with the wife. Short hike, decent views from the top
Got it on the way back to Bay Area from Snow Mountain earlier the same day.
Biked to the top from the gate. Simple as can be. Not much of a challenge, but more worth the detour than I expected it to be.
City lights below do dazzle after dark, and the power lines play like aeolian harps.
Did Mt. St. Helena on the 20th and it seemed appropriate to stay in Vacaville for this one. Early morning expedition got me the summit and then we headed for Copernicus for number two.
Mix Canyon gate was closed. Made a quick walk in a blowing snow shower. The view was limited to about 300 feet. This was my second cohp for the day. Carpenter Hill in Sacramento was first.
Surprising views. The entire snowtopped Sierra from Mt Lassen in the north down to Yosemite was in view, with the Central Valley and the SF Bay area hidden below in fog. Really nice for basically a drive up peak. Great views.
Went to the high point up there. Good views!