6 Of the Best Hiking Trails in Northern California

Discover the best hidden spots for hiking and biking near Vacaville!

Cows at Lagoon Valley

Vacaville’s warm weather and rolling hillsides have us wanting to get outside and explore some of the best hiking trails in Northern California! Vacaville and the surrounding area have some of the most picturesque hiking, biking, and outdoor recreation areas around. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a buddy and go soak up some sunshine at one of our top six local spots for day hikes!

1. Lagoon Valley Park

Photo: @vegamaryalice

Peña Adobe Road just off Interstate 80, Vacaville

Distance from Vacaville: 5 minutes, 4mi

Difficulty: Easy to StrenuousLength: 1.5-5 miles

The scenic 470-acre Lagoon Valley Regional Park includes the historic Peña Adobe home, barbecue areas, horseshoe pits, multi-purpose field, bike trails, a small pond, as well as Lagoon Valley Lake for recreational fishing and non-motorized boating. The park also features a disc golf course, a 30,000 square foot fenced-in dog park, and fantastic hiking trails complete with beautiful views. Parking is plentiful and costs $5 for a day permit, payable at the automated machine in the main parking lot.

There are multiple trails to choose from, depending on the intensity of workout you’re seeking. For a flat, easy walk, take the 2-mile loop around the lake. This half dirt, half paved track offers an easy pace and great views of the surrounding hillsides. For a bigger challenge, tackle one of the tougher climbs into the hills. The Tower Trail, a 1.5-mile trail with a 620-foot elevation climb, is a local favorite and will give your quads a workout!

Other favorites include the trail to the tree swing or the redwood grove, accessible from Butcher Road off of Alamo Drive. Parking is free at this entrance (leaving valuables in vehicles is not recommended) and visitors can walk in along the paved path until they come to Hume Grove, a small stand of coastal redwoods with shady picnic areas that connects to several paths into Lagoon Valley park.

2. Browns Valley Hills

Photo: @samantha.lee.bennett

Location: Vacaville, CA

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Although there are no officially-marked trails, the open space areas in the Browns Valley hills are a favorite spot for local hikers and boulder climbers. Steep slopes give way to spectacular sweeping views of Vacaville, and it’s a great place to explore with furry friends. Bonus points if you visit the Instagram-worthy tree swing! There are a few different entry spots- take Browns Valley parkway, left on Wrentham Drive, left on Rambleton Drive, and look for an entry way to walk up into the hills.

rope swing

3. Lake Solano

Photo: @tenay32

Location: 8685 Pleasants Valley Road, Winters

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Lake Solano is known as one of the best fly-fishing spots in the Sacramento Valley, but there’s plenty for boaters, swimmers, hikers, bikers, nature lovers, campers, and picnickers to do as well. The lake was formed by the Putah Diversion Dam and also offers 90 campsites. Lake Solano is a great spot to take little hikers, where they can see gaggles of peacocks and enjoy some beginner level trails.


4. Lake Berryessa Hikes

Photo: @stillthrills

Location: State Highway 128, 7 miles west of the town of Winters

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

The Cold Canyon Reserve is part of the University of California Natural Reserve System and one of the few UC Reserve areas open for public use. It is located within the Putah Creek State Wildlife Area, where hiking trails range from moderately easy to strenuously difficult.

The Stebbins Cold Canyon Loop trail is a 5-mile round trip that takes you up to the rim of the mountains surrounding Lake Berryessa. Set in a steep canyon of the northern California Coast Range, the loop trail showcases impressive landscapes, incredible views of Lake Berryessa, well-maintained paths, and a variety of animal and plant life (bonus points for plenty of shade!).

On a clear day you can see all the way to the Sacramento skyline from the top of the trail. Although there are other less strenuous trails that are dog and kid friendly within the Putah Creek Wildlife Area, the Cold Canyon Loop has steep stairs and some rocky areas to navigate through, so it is not great for little ones or pets. Plan for about 2.5 hours to complete the hike. A day-use fee is requested.


5. Rockville Hills Regional Park

Photo: @haymama_84

Location: Rockville Road, Fairfield

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Pick a trail, any trail! The Rockville Hills Regional Park encompasses nearly 600 acres of grasslands and oak woodlands, and features more than 20 trails, many with gorgeous views of the surrounding hills. Whether you are looking for a quick hike or an all-day adventure, there is something for everyone. Rock formations, cool caves for exploring, picnic areas, a lovely little lake, and over 30 miles of tracks and trails makes Rockville Hills a must-see hiking destination in Solano County. Each trail is well-maintained, but we recommend printing out a map of the trails beforehand since some of them are not clearly marked.

Rockville Hills is great for kids, and dogs are permitted on leashes. Tip: there is a 3$ per person and 1$ per dog entrance fee that is strictly enforced and payable by cash or card at the automated machine near the entrance.

wild life

6. Skyline Wilderness Park

Location: 2201 Imola Ave, Napa

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

The Sugarloaf Mountain trail in Skyline Wilderness Park is definitely one of those Napa hikes worthy of your attention. The trail leads you through grasslands and chaparral, winding uphill through oak forest and ultimately providing great views from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Reaching the summit involves a challenging, but short, section of steep trail which takes careful negotiation and is not great for little hikers, but that just makes reaching the summit more rewarding. The trailhead is accessible from inside the RV park at the end of Imola Avenue. A day-use fee is charged per vehicle, at which time you can pick up a copy of the park map. Adequate parking is available.

Do you have a favorite hiking spot near Vacaville? Let us know, or share your pics with us on Instagram using the #ilovevacaville hashtag

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