Sometimes it’s good to have a place nearby home that has lots of trails and a variety of terrain/vegetation that will keep you interested without driving far. For me, that place is Rockville Hills Regional Park near Fairfield. The numerous trails that crisscross the low oak studded hills above Green Valley allow me to get a good workout under occasional shade only under 30 minutes from my home. What more could I ask for?
Rockville Hills Regional Park, owned and maintained by the City of Fairfield, is 633 acres of oak woodlands and mixed broadleaf forests, along with grasslands among the hills between Suisun and Green Valleys. The city bought the property in the 1960’s intending to turn it into a golf course but push back from local residents killed the plan. Instead, it became a park popular for hiking, mountain biking, and picnicking. The best way to go hiking here is to come without a plan. Print out a map and bring it if you must, but it’s often better to just wander on the trails. The park is small enough that’s it’s quite difficult to get lost even when doing this. Bring out the inner explorer in you!
There are two main entrances to Rockville Hills. The main entrance and most popular is located off of Rockville Road on the north side of the park. There is a small parking area and pay kiosk, along with several picnic tables. The other entrance is located on the south side of the park and a little difficult to find. This is due to the fact that you can’t actually park right next to it. You’ll need to park on Emerald Bay Drive in a subdivision in Green Valley, then walk a quarter mile up a paved bike path to the actual entrance to the park. Though unsigned the trail is not too hard to find. On this particular day, I decided to use the south entrance.
After entering the park I immediately started climbing a hill. It’s not insurmountable but the immediate elevation gain is a little unexpected at first. I hiked over the hill and after the first 1.5 miles reached the Upper Lake located in the center of the park.
The starkness of the golden hills with the green grass surrounding the lake was a welcome sight. After spending a few minutes at the lake I hiked up into the hills west of the lake. I wound around on trails like the Outside Loop Trail and Upper and Lower Mystic Trails. Eventually the Mystic trails end up back at the Green Valley Trail that took me back to my car.
Throughout my hike I enjoyed great views of Fairfield and the surrounding valleys. The rolling hills are a golden color this time of year and pretty against the backdrop of oaks and other broadleaf trees. However I apologize that this trip report is a bit more vague than others. There are two reasons for this: I am writing this trip report a bit delayed and often when at Rockville, I don’t have a set route planned. Thus some of my route is a bit vague to me. As I mentioned before I highly encourage grabbing a map and wandering this park as I do if you’re in the area! It’s a great place to kill a few hours (if the weather isn’t too hot).
Distance: 4.72 miles
Time: 2 hours
Elevation gain: 700 feet
Fees: Parking is free, entrance is $3 per person, payable at the kiosk at the main entrance. If using the south entrance there is no kiosk, so the sign directs you to pay at the main entrance.
Directions: From I-80, take the Green Valley Road exit, and go, north (left from eastbound, right from westbound). Turn right onto Westlake Road, then left on Lakeshore, and right onto Emerald Bay. Park at the second crossing of the bike path and hike north (to the left) towards the south entrance.
To reach the main entrance, go north on Suisun Valley Road from Interstate 80. Turn left onto Rockville Road and you’ll see the park entrance about a mile up on the left.