Perennial sunshine and quiet country roads make Vacaville one of Northern California's premier cycling destinations. From family-friendly creekside pedals to all-day excursions over challenging terrain, the Vacaville area offers something for cyclists of every skill level. Riders can look forward to shady bike paths, rolling hills that go from lush green in the springtime to bright gold in summer and fall, and routes that wind through scenic farmland. Downtown Vacaville and nearby towns offer parks and cafes where you can escape the heat of the day and relax and refresh after a long ride.
Here are a few of the best places to ride in and around Vacaville.
1. Alamo Creek Bike Path
Perfect for beginners and families, this shady ride follows the tree-lined Alamo Creek as it winds its way across Vacaville. The Alamo Creek Bike Path has several convenient starting points less than two miles from downtown, and stretches about five miles from Marshall Road to its eastern end at Patwin Park. Mostly separated from car traffic, the bike path passes through several parks where you can stop for mid-ride picnic.
Cyclists can ride the the full trail out and back for a gentle, 10-mile ride, or opt for a shorter route by starting from any of the parks along the path. The trail connects with the Southside Bikeway for access to the shops and restaurants of historic downtown Vacaville to the north and Al Patch Park to the south.
2. Lake Solano Loop
Advanced cyclists should look no further than the Lake Solano Loop ride, a Vacaville-area standby that takes you through some of the region's most scenic countryside. Riders can start this 35-mile loop from downtown, Lagoon Valley Park, or any of the surrounding parks and neighborhoods.
Start by heading north on Pleasants Valley Road, a quiet route past farmland and over rolling hills dotted with oak trees. After you reach the high point at the Cantelow Road intersection, you'll descend gradually towards Lake Solano County Park, where you can take a short detour to relax by the lakeshore for a quick break and snack. From the park, your route will trace Putah Creek as you head towards Winters, a great spot to grab lunch. From Winters, head back to Vacaville via Winters Road, Peaceful Glen Road, and Steiger Hill Road, where you'll face the most challenging climb of the ride before you reach your final destination.
3. Lagoon Valley Loop
This classic 9-mile loop starts from Lagoon Valley Park, one of Vacaville's prettiest recreation areas. The park offers 470 acres of hiking and biking trails and sweeping views of northern California's finest hill country, providing outdoors enthusiasts with plenty of options. A favorite among beginners and intermediate riders, the Lagoon Valley Loop starts from the parking area at Lagoon Valley, just three miles from downtown Vacaville. After tracing the eastern shore of the lake, follow Nelson Road and Paradise Valley Road. You'll cross I-80 at Manuel Campos Parkway as you head towards Cherry Glen Road, a quiet back road flanked by rolling hills dotted with oak trees. After your ride, make sure you kick back and enjoy a well-earned barbeque by the lake.
4. Cantelow Climb Loop
Vacaville's hillier terrain will challenge intermediate and advanced cyclists with leg-burning climbs and steep descents. For a 20-mile loop with a short but tough climb, start at Lagoon Valley Park (three miles from downtown) and follow Pleasants Valley Road through rolling farmland towards Cantelow Road. You'll turn right onto Cantelow, where the road climbs almost 400 feet in under a mile. After you've earned the summit, cruise down a tree-lined descent as you make your way back towards town on Gibson Canyon Road and Dobbins Street. Finish out your ride on the park path as it winds by a scenic grove of redwood trees.
If you're looking for even more grueling climbs in the area, try Mix Canyon or Gates Canyon Road, both of which climb towards Mount Vaca—the tallest point in Solano County.
5. Grizzly Island Wetlands
If you're willing to venture beyond Vacaville, head 11 miles south to the quaint town of Suisun City on the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Beginner riders will enjoy a peaceful, 7-mile out-and-back ride that brings you to the north end of the Suisun Marsh, part of California's largest wetland complex.
Start your ride at the Suisun-Fairfield Amtrak station, and follow Lotz Way through town towards the Grizzly Island Bike Trail. After about a mile, you will turn onto Grizzly Island Road, a quiet backroad with no shoulder that will lead you to Rush Ranch Open Space after about 3.5 miles. Be sure to take time to explore the scenic and ecologically significant habitat before heading back towards Suisun City.
6. Rockville Hills Regional Park
If getting off the pavement and onto the dirt is more your style, look no further than Rockville Hills Regional Park for the best mountain biking in Solano County. The park entrance is about 13 miles from downtown Vacaville, and the 633-acre park features steep singletrack, rugged and rocky descents, and mellower routes that beginner bikers will enjoy. Try the Rockville Park Loop for a 7-mile route that climbs over 1,000 feet and covers some of the park's best technical and intermediate terrain. Novice riders can start with the Bay Area Ridge Trail, a 2-mile fire road that cuts through the center of the park and provides access to other trails.
Originally written by RootsRated for Visit Vacaville.