Rockville (Suggestion 2)
82% SINGLETRACK18% FIRE ROAD
Rockville Hills Regional Park might qualify as one of the well-kept secrets of mountain biking around the Bay Area. It's not a large park, but it features more singletrack trails than it does fire roads, and enough of them to give you a full day's worth of riding as long as you're willing to keep weaving back and forth in the park. Moreover, many of these are technical enough to satisfy even the most advanced riders. It's not for nothing that the place is named "Rockville". There aren't any extended climbs, but there are plenty of short ones, so you can still feel spent at the end of your ride.
There is a fee to be paid in order to ride at Rockville. The unusual part of this is that it is not a parking fee like the fees at many other parks. It's actually a per-person use fee. You're supposed to pay this even if you have biked into the park without a car. There is a machine where you can pay this fee at the parking lot shown at the Suggested Parking link on the left, after which you're expected to have the receipt with you as you ride in the park. The fee is only three dollars at the time I'm writing this. However, the machine that accepts the payment could not accept cash or coins the last time I was there (though it normally should), so you can only pay by using a credit (or debit?) card at the moment.
One detail that might be particularly worth paying attention to at Rockville is low branches. I can't remember a place where I had to contend with this many low branches hanging over the trail (though Oat Hill Mine Road comes close). At Rockville, I remembering constantly having to worry about ducking and sometimes about having my backpack getting stuck even when I do duck. You've been warned.
With a tight interconnected network of many short trails, it might be hard to point out one typical route to ride at Rockville. This particular route happens to be the one I picked for my first ride there. I could describe it as a short ride intended to hit a couple of highlights of the park. One of these highlights is Rock Garden Trail. It meets the expectations set by its name. The other one is the Lower Tilley Trail loop, which didn't disappoint either. In fact, you might want to extend the latter with a second higher loop along Manzanita Trail. I didn't have the energy left at the time to include that part, though I had initially intended to.
One mistake that I made with this route choice that you might want to avoid is using Cave Trail to climb to Rock Garden Trail. It became obvious soon after my riding buddies and I started up that trail that Cave Trail is a trail intended mainly for being descended on a full-blown downhill bike. The steps and steep turns along the way really only leave the possibility of hiking your bike uphill via this trail. Taking any other trail you see on the park map to get to Rock Garden Trail will be preferable, I'm sure. One such good option would be to start the same way the other Rockville ride on this website does, but to turn toward Rock Garden Trail instead of Lake Front Trail when you reach the junction near where both of those trails start.
© Ergin Guney
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