Riding Rockville Hills
Updated: Jun 3, 2018
by Yvette Skinner, BTCEB Vice President
I got to check out Rockville Hills Park at our December 2017 Ride Like a Girl event, led by Amy Arcus, RLAG coordinator (far right).
Rockville has an awesome trail system which the City of Fairfield manages with a lot of attention to the needs of mountain bikers. Here's some info to help you get the most out of the park.
Trail system overview
Tucked away in hills near Green Valley in southern Solano County is the Rockville Hills Regional Park. The park’s trails are a mix of mostly singletrack with fire roads connecting sections of trail. Unlike some trail systems that have an obvious loop, Rockville is a spiderweb of trails which can be confusing for riders not familiar with the park. Bring a trail map or ride with a friend familiar with the routes.
Rockville is open to hikers and bikers. Horses are not allowed but cattle do graze the hills so watch out for Clover and her cow patties. All trails are bi-directional. Dogs must be on leash so this is not a good choice for those who love to mountain bike with their pooches.
Of all the trails in the Bay Area, Rockville holds up the best in wet weather, therefore, it can be crowded with riders while other trail systems are still muddy.
How to get there
The parking area for Rockville is located on Rockville Road not far from I-80 through Cornelia. Although the parking lot is very small, riders will park on the wide gravel shoulder along Rockville Road. The park requires a fee for use, either $3 per day per vehicle or a 6-month pass is also available for purchase at the ticket kiosk, which accepts cash or credit cards.
Suggested trail route
Rockville packs a lot of trail in to a small area with many, many intersections and possibilities. Although most trail sections are marked with signs it is advised to bring a trail map. From the parking lot start uphill to the left on the Rockville Trail. It’s a gradual climb with smooth hard-packed trail surface. You will find yourself at a paved road near a kiosk and the bathrooms. Take a left onto Wild Turkey Run Trail which will bring you to the start of the Tilley Loops.
The Lower Tilley Loop is a fun “add on” for some extra miles and for some extra challenge. Although sections of this trail are smooth and flowy, Tilley definitely has some tough, rocky, technical sections that will challenge your bike handling skills. If you want to opt out of this section, take the Tilley Connection Trail which will bring you back to the same asphalt road that passed by the kiosk and bathrooms.
Take the asphalt road to the left for just a bit to take you to the Mini Rock Garden Trail. This is a great trail for practicing your bike handling skills as it is peppered with “baby heads” – small rocks about the size of …well… a baby’s head. It will drop you down to one of the many fire roads that connect other singletrack and surround the lake in the center of the park.
Follow the fire road to the lake and decide how adventurous you’d like to be. Some folks will opt for the May-December Trail and others like the challenge of the Rock Garden Trail. May-December will lead you to a fire road which you can follow to the short Tower Trail which connects with the end of Rock Garden near the Patwin Cliffs. This is a beautiful overlook and well worth the stop to lean your bike against the rocks and take a selfie.
From Rock Garden many folks like to take the Outer Loop Trail. It offers some beautiful views and is not terribly technical. However, it is advised to brave some rocky, chunky trail for the scenic vistas that can be seen on the Cliff View Trail. Cliff View will tie back in to Outer Loop.
From the end of Outer Loop take the Tap Root Trail to Jockey Junction. Take the Twisted Tree Loop to add a little fun and flow. Next hit the Arch Trail but not too fast – shortly on the left you will see the “Heart Tree,” a tree with a large branch that was cut off revealing a heart-shaped core. This is another great spot to lean your bike for an unforgettable photo. The Arch Trail will take you back to the fire roads by the lake.
Follow the fire road back up the hill to the Green Valley Trail. This trail has a steep section with loose rocks so check your speed. This trail is a bear to climb if you ride it in the other direction. Green Valley will turn into the Black Oak Trail which will lead you down to the Mystic trails. Coyote Track Trail, Upper Mystic, Lower Mystic, Mystic Ridge Trial form a series of stacked loops and can be strung together in any direction to add a little mileage to your ride, or a lot. For example, ride Lower Mystic to Middle Mystic to Upper Mystic to Mystic Ridge.
Now that you’re back on a fire road that takes you to the lake you’ve got several options on how to get back to the trailhead. You could take the fire road back to the lake and up to Mini Rock Garden Trail and ride in the reverse direction you came down. Instead of returning on Rockville Trail for a different experience take the Tilley Connection to Lower Tilley and take the Devil’s Backbone trail which will connect back to the Rockville Trail not far from the parking lot.
On the other hand if you still want to put in a few more miles, you could ride the Lakefront Trail north to connect with the Chemise Loop Trail. Keep riding north and you will reach the Lower Quarry Trail which is a fun section of trail with a lot of flow.
Rockville Hills Park web site (City of Fairfield)
Many thanks to the City of Fairfield for working with BTCEB and the Rockville Trail Advisory Group to make Rockville Hills maybe the best mountain biking destination in the Bay Area. If you'd like to help out, the Rockville Trail Crew meets the third Saturday of every month from 9am-12pm.