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Length 8 miles
Time 2 hours
Total Climb 1450 feet
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Lagoon Valley

Lagoon Valley Regional Park does not have a very large trail network and neither would I expect it to be on the radar screen of most riders in Bay Area as a place to go mountain biking, which make it surprising that there is a decent (if modest) selection of biker-friendly singletrack trails here, and no biking restrictions that I noticed. In an area where there aren't too many good mountain biking options that I know of, this fact qualifies this park as a pretty valuable resource, in my opinion. This is a short ride that traverses most of these trails, or at least the popular ones that are represented on the trail map I was able to find online.

There is definitely a sense of "mountain-biking-orientedness" that I perceived in the design of the singletrack trails at Lagoon Valley. You can notice this in things ranging from the way some sharp curves appear to be bermed just right for riders, all the way to the existence of a well-constructed seesaw that I can't imagine being useful to any trail users other than mountain bikers. The trails aren't technical, other than a few rocky patches here and there and a couple of surprisingly steep sections. In fact, most are fairly smooth. Still, they're quite fun. Especially if you like the experience of having the upcoming half mile of the current trail visibly snaking across a meadow or along a hillside in front of you, you might like the trails at Lagoon Valley.

The impression I get is that this park has very high popularity. When I arrived at the parking lot around 8:00 AM on a Saturday for this particular ride, there were already around a couple of dozen cars parked and there were only a handful of free parking spots left. Part of this may be due to being "the only game in town": I don't know of too many other parks in the immediate area that provide opportunities similar to Lagoon Valley. This is right on the doorstep of Vacaville, and I'm sure many residents there can even bike here straight from their homes. It's not only about mountain bikers, either; the park also provides for water activities and has picnic areas that must be popular with families.

None of the trails at Lagoon Valley have any names that I could see listed on any trail signs or park maps, and if they have any nicknames among regular users of the park, I'm not familiar enough with the place to be aware of them. (If there are any such regulars among you who can name the trails, feel free to leave a comment to help out the viewers of this page.) So, I'm not going to provide a play-by-play of the route followed on this ride. The park isn't large enough to be worried about getting lost anyway. In general though, most of the trails are located on the ridge that's the main geographic feature of the park. The bigger part of this particular ride route consists of an elongated loop that goes up and down along this ridge. If you do "one pass" over these trails, like this particular ride does, it will add up to a short ride around 8 miles long, as you can see. That was enough for me and my riding buddies on the day we did this ride in 95-degree weather. If you need more, you can do a second loop of the trails along the ridge in the opposite direction and end up having done something like 12 miles instead.

One comment I need to add is about a few sudden plunges the trail takes on this particular ride. The trails here aren't really at an advanced technical level. So, a few spots where the trail starts a potentially treacherous, steep descent may catch some riders unprepared. When the trails are done in the direction shown on this ride, the first of these comes just as the descent starts down the small hill the ride climbs near the beginning. Another one or two such spots are encountered during the singletrack descent on your way back from the peak of the ridge. They wouldn't pose any problem unless you're carelessly carrying too much speed. It's just something to keep in the back of your mind on your first ride here.

A second note of warning I have is about thorns. Let me put it this way: I did this ride with two friends and, at the end of the ride, two of us ended up with one flat tire each, and the third guy got both tires flat. All were due to thorns. At least on the date when I did this ride (June), many of the trails were lined with thistle on both sides. As you look through the photos for this ride, virtually all the green vegetation that you can see along and around the trail against the surrounding yellow grass is thistle. Be warned.

Finally, I probably don't have to point this out but, don't forget that this location can get much hotter than many other spots around the bay during warmer months. If you're like me, extreme heat will multiply the difficulty of the ride for you. Keep that in mind when planning the time of your ride here and the amount of water you'll be bringing.

© Ergin Guney


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