The John Muir Land Trust manages a huge stretch of land in the Franklin Hills area. Here, you’ll find the 158-acre Dutra Ranch, which connects to the Sky and Gutra Ranch on either side. One of the trails that connect the Dutra and Sky Ranches is the Dutra Loop Trail, which can be accessed from the kiosk from either property. Here, you can let Fido off-leash to walk alongside you, provided they are properly voice-trained. If they are distracted easily or have a tendency to chase or get frightened easily, it may be best to keep them on a leash.
To access the Dutra Loop, you’ll first have to make it down the Feeder Trail #1, which is a simple stretch of unmanaged land marked by a trailhead. Parking is limited in this area along Dutra Road, so you may want to carpool if meeting up with friends. You’ll also have to keep Fido on a leash while making your way down this path, as it is technically still public property. Once you’ve reached the entrance of the Sky Ranch, you are on official John Muir Land Trust property. Take a moment to stop and read up on the colorful history of the property!
Here, you’ll see a fork where the return loop meets, and as you head up the walk, you’ll make your way toward the Sky Ranch Kiosk. Just over a quarter of a mile down the way, you’ll come to a viewpoint bench sitting on the 1,000-foot peak. You’ll see remarkable views of the Mount St. Helena and the Napa Valley in the distance. From here on out, the walk is mostly downhill. Another kiosk with a picnic area and views of Mt. Diablo in the distance can be found on the Dutra side of the property.
The Dutra Loop is a well-known gem among locals, so be sure to visit early if you want to enjoy the serenity of your surroundings. Remember to dress appropriately, as there are areas with no shade, and always bring water for you and your furry friend!