Leonhardt Ranch Learning Landscape

Photo by Vanessa Vasquez/FRLT Staff

Interpretive trail for birding in Quincy

This community preserve offers a walking path into the beautiful fields and meadows of American Valley just a short walk from downtown. The flat path provides access to families, birders, walkers, and joggers who want to take in the big views of Spanish Peak, Claremont, and Mount Hough. Visit in the evening to catch the dramatic alpenglow across the mountains and look for an elusive pygmy owl or industrious beaver in the willow thickets along the creek.

Open year-round during non-school hours. Open sunrise to sunset on weekends.

About Leonhardt Ranch Learning Landscape

Highlights
Map & Directions
Activity Info
History
Guidelines
Highlights

The 46-acre property is centrally located in the town of Quincy and extends outdoor education and recreation options from the bike path and nearby schools.

The preserve includes meadow, riparian, wetland, and pasture habitats with a diversity of wildlife and birds including beavers, coyotes, frogs, trout, raptors, Sandhill Cranes, Red-winged Blackbirds, waterfowl, and unique songbirds like Bullock’s Oriole and Yellow-breasted Chat.

The trail is approximately 1.3 miles out and back, and features interpretive signs with natural history and wildlife information made by Quincy High School students. 

Map & Directions

Directions

The Leonhardt Ranch Preserve is located in Quincy across from the Quincy Jr/Sr. High School on Quincy Junction Road (also near the bike path). The entrance is just north of the High School and on the west side of the road. You can park by the tennis courts, across the street from the entrance, or walk there from town. Look for a metal gate with signs on it.

Open in Google

Map

Download a map of the preserve to use while at the property.

Activity Info

Walking

The public access walking path is on an elevated levee, making it a high and dry trail year-round. The Leonhardt Ranch Learning Landscape is part of  a large, inter-mountain valley so be prepared for full sun and no shade–a hat is a great idea. The trail follows Boyle Creek, a tributary to Spanish Creek and is a great example of a dynamic landscape. The creek is channelized and manipulated by humans but rich with wildlife and seasonal variations. The path is currently an out-and-back walk but we hope to create a loop trail in the future.

Birding

Bring your binoculars, there is almost always something cool to see! With wetlands, cattail ponds, willow stands, and big open fields with nearby forest,  expect to see a diversity of avian life. 

  • Spring/Summer
    Waders like Sandhill Cranes and Killdeer; songbirds like Red-winged Blackbirds, Western and Mountain Bluebirds, and Say’s Phoebe and other flycatchers; an abundance of Canada Geese and a diversity of ducks like Mallards, American Wigeon, and Ruddy Ducks
  • Fall/Winter
    Great Blue Heron, Northern Flicker, resident Canada Geese and migrating Snow Geese, Black Phoebe, and raptors like Northern Harrier, Red-Tailed Hawk, and Bald Eagle

Photography

The preserve offers a unique view and perspective from the mostly private ranch lands of American Valley. There is nothing like getting out into a lush, spacious valley on a spring day and seeing fresh snow in the mountains. In late fall the amber-yellow willows contrast nicely with the green-blue mountains in the distance. Abby’s Barn, our outdoor classroom site on Quincy Junction Road is a popular place for Senior portraits. If you’d like access to the barn for picture taking give us a call. (530) 283-5758.

Outdoor Learning

Located across Quincy Junction Road from Quincy Jr/Sr High School, the Leonhardt Ranch provides a unique, living classroom for hands-on learning and stewardship experiences for Quincy children of all ages (it is within a short walk of Quincy Pioneer Elementary School as well). FRLT’s school-based K-12 Learning Landscapes program supports teachers to take classes outside throughout the school year.

Cross Country Skiing

When Quincy gets a good snow, bust out your cross-country skis for a brisk jaunt down the Leonhardt Ranch Learning Landscapes path for expansive snowy vistas. Conditions are almost always best in the morning, and if you get out early enough you might be able to ski down the bike path, too. Don’t forget to look for animal tracks and bring binoculars for winter birding!

History

A very long time ago, American Valley, like many other inter-mountain valleys in the region, was an ancient lake. The lake basin began to fill in with sediment from the surrounding mountain slopes and over time it became a lush mountain meadow.

Prior to European settlement, the valley had no confined creek channels—streams meandered through willow and cottonwood groves. The Gold Rush area brought change and a surge in population to the region. Spanish Creek and its tributaries were diverted and manipulated to provide water for mining operations and logging.

Later, agriculture was established and networks of ditches were built to create pasture, irrigate, and to protect the town from flooding. Many of the ditches are still in use today.

Spanish Creek, to the west of the property, presently resides in a former diversion channel that has deepened and widened to its present condition.

Guidelines

Hours: The Preserve is open to the public during non-school hours and weekends. Limit your visits to early morning before school starts (8am) and after 3pm M-F. Thank you for your cooperation!

Motorized Vehicles: No motorized vehicles on the property.

Pets: Due to nesting bird habitat and livestock, NO dogs are allowed on the preserve.

Trails: Please keep foot traffic to the levee trail. No bikes please. Occasionally, expect trail closures due to nesting birds and/or restoration projects. Signs will be posted and the website updated.

Smoking: Smoking is prohibited (school-use zone and a fire hazard).

Plants & Wildlife: Please leave plants and wildlife undisturbed. Want to help out? Pick up trash and leave no trace.

Group events: Permission from FRLT is required for non-school related, organized group events. Contact (530) 283-5758 for more info. 

Large events: No weddings or other large private events at this time.

Preserve Activities

Birding

Cross Country Skiing

Interpretive Trail

Photography

Walking


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