Grizzly Island Wildlife Area

Grizzly Island Wildlife Area is located in the heart if the great Suisun Marsh, approximately ten miles southeast of Fairfield, CA. The refuge isn’t open to the public year round. Go from February to July. The place is closed to the general public in August and September for the tule elk hunts, and October through January for waterfowl hunting.

From their website: “…With 88,000 acres of land, bays and sloughs, the Suisun Marsh is significant: it is the largest contiguous estuarine marsh in the entire United States. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area is approximately 12,900 acres of this prime habitat and the complex is a patchwork of 10 distinct land parcels, many of which are not connected and are surrounded by private land. Units include Grizzly Island, Crescent, Joice Island, Island Slough, Gold Hills, West Family, Goodyear Slough, and Grey Goose. They offer a variety of recreation opportunities and act as a vital buffer against further marsh development…”

  • Easy to Locate? Yes
  • Pet Friendly? Yes. Keep your pet on a leash.
  • Easy to Walk? Most of it is a drive around, but there are areas where you can do some walking (including Rush Ranch).
  • Is there a Fee? Not to visit. You will need to pay fees to hunt there.
  • Are there Restrooms? Occasionally along the route.
  • Is there Accessible Parking? In designated areas, yes.
  • Other Notes: Check out Rush Ranch along the way. Rush Ranch is a 2,070-acre open space managed by the Solano Land Trust. The working ranch, located in the Potrero Hills along Grizzly Island Road in the Suisun Marsh, features a visitor center, blacksmith shop, historical ranching equipment, hiking trails and birding opportunities. Rush Ranch is open daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission and parking is always free. Come admire the horses that call the ranch home. There are also owls, hawks and other wildlife nesting on and around the ranch. 

See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos taken at this location.

The remarkable mix of marsh scenery and wildlife has attracted nature lovers, hunters, anglers and others for decades. Boats and canoes drift easily on the tidal sloughs. There are 75 miles of roads and trails, and several self-guided hiking trails are being planned. See the Seasonal Guide (PDF) and Self-guided Tour (PDF).

Some locals are convinced this unusual name came from the Mt. Diablo grizzly bears that used to swim across the bay to feast on the lush blackberries and rosehips on the island!

How to Get There:

  • From Sacramento:
  • Take Highway 50 West
  • Highway 50 West merges into I-80BUS West
  • I-80BUS West merges into I-80 West
  • From I-80 West take EXIT 45 for Travis Blvd
  • Turn LEFT onto Travis Blvd
  • Turn RIGHT onto Pennsylvania Ave
  • Use the left 2 lanes to turn LEFT onto CA-12 East
  • Turn RIGHT onto Grizzly Island Rd
  • Turn RIGHT to stay on Grizzly Island Rd
    • You can remain on the road and do the loop around the marshlands, or drive in a way and then drive out again.
    • Rush Ranch is along this road.

Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, 2548 Grizzly Island Rd, Suisun City, CA 94585. For more information, call the wildlife area at (707) 425-3828, or the Bay Delta Region Fairfield office at (707) 428-2002.

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist

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