This was a springtime hike in Rockville Hills Regional Park in Fairfield, where there is a segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The day was quite warm, around 90 degrees, for my afternoon hike. The Ridge Trail segment is accessed from the main entrance parking area via the Rockville Trail and runs from the North Gate generally south through the park. It continues on a green-belt bike path through a residential area for about 0.5 mile before the current end at Green Valley Rd.
Generally the trails are well-signed – I did make a couple of detours, but that was because I wasn’t sure how the Ridge Trail route passes from one named park trail to another. The park signs are unusual in that they contain GPS coordinates.
There is a main junction where the Rockville Trail intersects the main north-south road through the park. Just before this intersection there was a nice view of an interesting rock formation on a nearby hillside. This view illustrates that the hills rise rather dramatically from the nearby Suisun and Green Valley floors.
The route to the North Gate is mostly a paved road. Along the road, in addition to oaks and chaparral there are manzanitas, as well as sticky monkeyflower and Douglas iris. In the more open areas elsewhere in the park there were poppies in bloom. After returning from the North Gate to the main junction, the Ridge Trail route turns right to pass by the (smaller) Lower and (larger) Upper Lakes, which are in kind of a central valley. This is the relatively flat area at about 350 feet elevation in my elevation profile.
When I passed by Upper Lake I spent some time watching a great blue heron walking through the tall grass at the lake’s edge, no doubt feeding.
Just after the heron encounter I took a wrong turn and enjoyed a half-mile detour, probably on the Lower Lake Loop. Although there are many beautiful oak trees throughout the park, I found this group while on my detour.
After my detour I returned to Upper Lake; this time I happened to notice a wild turkey walking near the lake edge. The Ridge Trail route takes one of several trails that lead away from the lake, briefly following Arch Trail before turning left on Green Valley Trail and climbing out of the valley. There was a nice view of Upper Lake surrounded by oaks.
The trail winds back and forth a bit, but generally follows the power lines seen in the above picture all the way to Green Valley Road. From this area there is a great view of nearby peaks. I think these are the Twin Sisters.
The trail climbs to about 500 feet elevation and shortly begins a steady descent nearly to sea level. On the way down there are nice views of Green Valley to the west.
A little farther along, where the trail swings to the east, Mt Diablo can be seen across Suisun Bay, about 30 miles away, with Rockville in the foreground.
The trail descends somewhat steeply toward the southern park boundary, which is at the edge of a residential area. After leaving the park, the Ridge Trail route follows a paved bike path that goes through a green-belt through the residential area. This is a quite pleasant mini-open space for local residents to enjoy.
After reaching the end of the segment at Green Valley Rd I retraced my path to the main junction within Rockville Hills Regional Park, and then back to the main entrance parking area. After I completed this hike I learned that a continuation of the bike path on the other side of Green Valley Rd will soon be dedicated as Bay Area Ridge Trail.