Delta Drive

Take a road trip through the sights and sounds of the Sacramento River Delta.

The marina in Suisun City, California, along the Sacramento River Delta, image

The marina at the Suisun Channel provides direct access to the waterways of the Sacramento River Delta.

Rush Ranch Open Space in the Sacramento River Delta, California, image

Grizzly Island Road runs through the Rush Ranch Open Space and borders the Suisun Marsh.

The Western Railway Museum in the Sacramento River Delta, California, image

Peninsular Railway No. 52 heads towards the Montezuma Hills at the Western Railway Museum in Suisun City, Calif.

Foster's Bighorn in Rio Vista, California, in the Sacramento River Delta, image

Foster's Bighorn, a restaurant and bar in Rio Vista, Calif., has walls filled with big game hunting trophies from Africa and North America.

Locke, California, in the Sacramento River Delta, image

The Dai Loy Museum, a former gambling house in Locke, Calif., now exhibits Chinese gambling paraphernalia.

Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, California, along the Sacramento River Delta, image

Eight wineries share space in the Old Sugar Mill, a historic building in Clarksburg, Calif.

IF YOU'RE GOING...

Take advantage of the area’s local amenities and services:

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Winding levees, birds wheeling over marshland, the misty Sacramento River—these are some pleasures of a drive through California’s delta region. Start on Highway 12, then head north on Highway 160 toward Freeport, crisscrossing the river on historic drawbridges. The drive is just 56 miles, but allow most of a day.

  • SUISUN CITY Stroll along the trim marina before starting the day right with plate-size blueberry pancakes at cheery Babs Delta Diner, which has such loyal regulars it keeps a cabinet full of mugs emblazoned with their names. (707) 421-1926, suisun.com.
  • RUSH RANCH OPEN SPACE A two-mile side trip on Grizzly Island Road lets you stretch your legs as you spot burrowing owls, pintail ducks, and soaring raptors on trails that wind through this 2,070-acre tidal marsh and working farm. rushranch.net.
  • WESTERN RAILWAY MUSEUM Ride restored electric trains along the old tracks of the Sacramento Northern line at this "moving history" museum that houses 100 colorful trains. (707) 374-2978, wrm.org.
  • FOSTER'S BIGHORN Bootlegger and big-game hunter Bill Foster hung his trophies at this Rio Vista lunch spot. Munch your sandwich under the glassy eyes of hundreds of animals, from a headmount of a full-grown African elephant to a willowy giraffe. (707) 374-2511, fostersbighorn.com.
  • LOCKE At Walnut Grove, traverse the river (from Highway 160) for a detour to Locke, established in 1915 by Chinese laborers. Today you’ll find creaky houses, galleries, and the Dai Loy gambling museum with its fan-tan tables. locketown.com.
  • OLD SUGAR MILL Cross the river again to Clarksburg, where boutique wineries occupy a former sugar beet refinery. (916) 744-1615, oldsugarmill.com.

Additional reporting by Erin Klenow. Photographs by Erin Klenow, except red train courtesy of Western Railway Museum and Sugar Mill by Donald Carroll

This article was first published in November 2006 and updated in March 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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