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  1. #1
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    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)

    These trails are close to one another and I'm wondering about the pros and cons of each. I often ride Rockville and love the terrain and the multiple options and loops that exist. I've never ridden Skyline as Rockville is a little closer from Sacramento and not far off the freeway when coming back from SF.

    Which trail do you prefer? Is Skyline an intuitive trail or do you need to ride with someone to find your way around? I really want to try out Skline and want to hear what others have to say about which trail they prefer and why.

    Rockville or Skyline or both?

  2. #2
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    Skyline is a bigger park ,easier to do without backtracking. Both have techy parts. Skyline has much longer ups and downs. The ranger at skyline will give you a map ,easy enough to find your way around.Make sure to check with ranger before going they sometimes close the park if it rains too much.

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    I ride these 2 trails more than any other since I live between them both. I like them both for diffrent reason. Rockville has more technical spots with short ups and downs and many short trails that have to be linked together. Skyline is more of a long uphill with a long downhill. Rockville does much better with rain. Skyline was pretty dried out, but even todays rain will probably have it muddy for this weekend where Rockville will be fine. If you drive to Rockville it's worth an extra 15 minutes to ride Skyline to see for your self. It's not to hard to find your way around and maps are avaliable at the kiosk in the main parking lot. Equestrians are allowed at Skyline so keep that in mind. Not a lot of them, but they are out there. They have always been friendly to me and other bikers I know. You should give Skyline a try.

  4. #4
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    The names alone describe the goodness of these two places.
    When you do get to Skyline I recommend riding or hike a biking to the top. the views and descent are magnifique- farther and longer than what is offered at Rockville.

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    Being from Sacramento I had been wondering about Skyline and if it was worth the trip. I ride Rockville and like the techy stuff alot. Skyline sounds great so I will head up there!

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    Post it up when you guys try Skyline and maybe me or another local can guide you around Skyline. I can usually ride 1 or 2 days during the weekdays.

  7. #7
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    New question here. Online trail map???

    Is there one available for Skyline? Thanks.
    Tom

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnThaCouch View Post
    Is there one available for Skyline? Thanks.
    Tom
    Try this:

    http://www.mountainbikebill.com/imag...kylinepark.pdf

    You can pay to park in the main park entrance off Imola, or park right in lot off Streblow in Napa Com College right off Silverado Tr. Ride back out across intersection and go into the park on the River-Ridge Tr.

    You'll dump right in on the segment on the leftside of map where it says "Bay Area Ridge Tr". Head right, up Buckeye (somewhat of a grind but s/t), or warm up on the black lined Lake Marie service road up to the lake (a grind aswell...). Choose route from there. either way you go is some more climbing before descending.

    Chaparal starts across the dam and loops clockwise high above the lake then drops and meets up with Skyline out past the far end of the lake. The section of B.A.R.T. that continues out to "trails end",Teuters Loop, is closed at the present time to bikes/horses due to wet conditions. You can backtrack to lake Marie on Skyline, and continue on this trail to the upper regions of the park, or veer off onto Buckeye all the way back to where you came in (if on R-R Trail from the college).

    Marie Creek/Manzanita will eventually take you back to the main entrance off Imola. Depending on your abilities/endurance you can mix things up with some loops of most of the trails for an epic day if you will.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  9. #9
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    Thanks, JMac.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnThaCouch View Post
    Thanks, JMac.

    Welcome. Bitter sweet topic as i am in full view of the area, all day, every day, and bikeless today....
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  11. #11
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    Good job!

    Skyline is a great place to ride. If I had to boil it down to one thing I would say Skyline is a little more hardtail and Rockville is more full-suspension. Obviously both work at both places, but I'm painting with a broad brush.

    Here's the loop I usually do: Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Skyline near Napa | Times and Records | Strava Everything to the right of the lake will probably be closed as per the other thread because of mud. Starting from the parking lot near Napa Valley College and taking the River to Ridge trail is really neat.


    Side note, my favorite place to ride is Oat Hill Mine Trail in Calistoga. It's another 30 minutes from Skyline, but well worth it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sivilized View Post
    Side note, my favorite place to ride is Oat Hill Mine Trail in Calistoga. It's another 30 minutes from Skyline, but well worth it.
    May I ask why? Isn't this just a ride up, ride back down ride? Or is there more to it these days?

    Edit: And to the OP, listen to JMac-Daddy, park off Streblow to avoid massive park fees. Turn onto Streblow, go down a little and turn left into the gravel parking lot with the big outhouse. There're picnic benches there, too (and bbq grills) for after-ride fun.
    Last edited by Finch Platte; 02-21-2013 at 06:56 AM.

  13. #13
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    Wait, who's your Daddy?
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post

    Edit: And to the OP, listen to JMac-Daddy, park off Streblow to avoid massive park fees.
    "Massive" park fees? I think we need to keep in mind that those fees pay for the upkeep on a fantastic bike-legal singletrack trail system. To put it in perspective, a car with 4 people has a $5 day-use fee for Skyline. Tamarancho is $5 per person (so $20 for a car of 4), and it has half of the amount of bike-legal singletrack that Skyline does. I don't mean to stand on a soapbox, but $1.25 per person in a car of 4 people does not constitute "massive" fees in my mind, especially when it goes to helping these trails stay open and well maintained.

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    I've ridden both, and in my opinion Rockville is much more fun (for me, anyways). I found Skyline to be a bit steep and technical for my taste. It's great if you want to climb and practice tight turns. Rockville is definitely a smaller park, but has a more varied terrain - there's up, down, and in between .

    Both parks are fairly small - so chances of you getting lost in there are pretty slim, and if you just stick to one trail or one direction you're bound to come back to where you started. Never hurts to check out the trail map beforehand though.

    If you're willing to drive an extra half hour, why not check out Annadelle? Much much bigger park that is much more fun IMO.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerms View Post
    "Massive" park fees? I think we need to keep in mind that those fees pay for the upkeep on a fantastic bike-legal singletrack trail system. To put it in perspective, a car with 4 people has a $5 day-use fee for Skyline. Tamarancho is $5 per person (so $20 for a car of 4), and it has half of the amount of bike-legal singletrack that Skyline does. I don't mean to stand on a soapbox, but $1.25 per person in a car of 4 people does not constitute "massive" fees in my mind, especially when it goes to helping these trails stay open and well maintained.
    FTR, the staging/starting place I mentioned is merely for closer proximity and added trail time only. I am in support of park system fees, as does Mr. FP I believe aswell. Although he does have to economize being that he drives up from the valley.....
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    I've only hiked in Skyline, and that was a long time ago. It is only about 45 minutes from my house so might be worth heading up there. When do things dry out so the entire park is open for bikes (I mean horses)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    May I ask why? Isn't this just a ride up, ride back down ride? Or is there more to it these days?
    Yep, you ride up then ride back in the "saddle" towards Aetna Springs for a while and then head back. I love the challenging climb, the great scenery and the downhill. I don't mind that it's split into up and down sections.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cohenfive View Post
    I've only hiked in Skyline, and that was a long time ago. It is only about 45 minutes from my house so might be worth heading up there. When do things dry out so the entire park is open for bikes (I mean horses)?
    Everything's open now except the short(ish) lolly pop Tueters loop section. Rode Friday, and doing some post-rain ride recon today and will report back.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  20. #20
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    As promised

    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    Everything's open now except the short(ish) lolly pop Tueters loop section. Rode Friday, and doing some post-rain ride recon today and will report back.
    Pardone the cliche~, but can you say....."hero" dirt?

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-wrong-way-buckeye.jpg
    Heading up Buckeye after coming in from Napa Valley Comm College on the River to Ridge Tr. I know, I know, I'm going the wrong way, right?!?! Patience.

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-hero-dirt.jpg
    Halfway up Buckeye I veered off and ripped down Bay Leaf to the Lake Marie service road to cross over to catch Marie Creek and continue up to the lake via that route. My shadow approves of the conditions.

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-marie-crk-dry-crossing.jpg
    Dry creek runoff crossing. Only the first couple lower sections were flowing, minimally at that. Dry shoes at rides end confirmed that.

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-marie-crk.jpg
    Climbing was a breeze on the Marie Creek sections with plenty of tacky-traction goodness. Dabbless at that. Yup, thaaat's my story...

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-upr-marie-crk-climb-heading-down-steps.jpg
    Topping out on Upper Marie Creek Tr from Manzanita just before dropping down the step section and up to the lake and Chaparal Tr.

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-upper-marie-steps-tall.jpg
    Watch your step....dabbless descent here. No blood flow at rides end confirmed this. Climbing line's on the right. It's a mind****. Have not mastered it yet.

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-start-chaparal-above-lake.jpg
    Out of the leafy abyss and onto Chaparal Tr.

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-dam-fine-singletrack.jpg
    Now that's a Dam fine singletrack down there, don't you think?

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-above-switchbacks-desire.jpg
    Above Chaparals "Switchbacks of un-Desire".

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-tuteur-sign.jpg
    Back into the foilage again and the end of Chaparal at Skyline intersection. Oh I must go see what all the fuss is about then. Onward.

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-tuteur-stop-point.jpg
    My normal turnaround point after climbing up from the creek to the open meadow before Tuteurs Loop when it's bogged down with muckyness. Gazing ahead I expected to see a quagmire of sloppyness given the deluge from the latest storm....so what's the deal. Looks dry to me from here. My conscious is testing the little voice(s) inside my head. But I obey, the signage, and begin a mid trail 180* straddle flip pivot move. But mid turn something uphill catches my eye....wtf?

    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-2-21-pig-fest.jpg
    Holy Pigfest Smorgesboard BatMan! I've seen pig rut carnage before around Lake Sonoma and such, but never this much, up here, in one place. Yes I ride a small frame bike but seriously this swath of rottotilling swine madness is about the size of a football field. Crazy.

    Chronicalizing this areas weekend trail conditions for the MTBR masses now officially over, I begin my grin producing pilgrimage and retrace my way back thru the swoopy creekbed trail I had just ascended, passing by the Chaparal t/h and continue on up Skyline Tr around the opposite side of the lake. Pressed for time due to the many photo opps I split off onto Upper Buckeye and began the long flowy retreat down the hill where some more sweet, confidence inducing swoopy grippyness ensued.

    Safely back down onto the R-R Trail, I throttled it back abit for some softpedaling enjoyment back to the barn, taking in the hue's of the afternoon sunlight filtering thru the surrounding tree cover, trying out some new lines over the many features that are usually passed over in Strava haste while heading to/back from the park.

    Hope this has rekindled some interest in those of you that have been away, and create some intrigue to those of you who are curious but have never been riding here.

    Get some!
    Last edited by JMac47; 02-27-2013 at 03:00 PM. Reason: typo
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  21. #21
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    Thanks for the nice write up and great photos of Skyline conditions Jmac.
    Your shadow/thumbs up pic says so much about our sport - and the conditions up there. Great conditions must be holding up well all 'round the Bay this week.
    Anyway, thanks for the recon.

  22. #22
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    Nice
    I don't rattle.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwix View Post
    Thanks for the nice write up and great photos of Skyline conditions Jmac.
    Your shadow/thumbs up pic says so much about our sport - and the conditions up there. Great conditions must be holding up well all 'round the Bay this week.
    Anyway, thanks for the recon.
    Hey, yeah, nice post & write-up, J. I like the shot of your bike glowing in the sun.

    Can't believe the uprooted area, jeez!

    (Hi, Craig!)

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    JMac,

    Great post and thank you! I'm looking forward to checking it out. If I understand correctly, you ride down the stairs and up on the trail to the right, correct?

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    Correct. That's a humbling section of trail- the hunkin' stair steps and the techy rock S- turns above there. I courted an OTB moment on those steps. It is an intriguing place.
    There are many places to push push the riding edges as is true at Rockville.

    Yes, Jmac?

    Now I'm craving an Endo pic Finch!

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    Where is that on the trail?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elacrosse7 View Post
    JMac,

    If I understand correctly, you ride down the stairs and up on the trail to the right, correct?
    Well, depends. Yeah, the high line on the right is an easier up, but I'm sure there's some characters that can make it up the techy stairs too! You can take that upper line when heading down too I suppose. I might try it next outing.

    I had just come down the stairs, from basically climbing up the trail in the opposite direction that it's normally ridden. If that makes sense. I figured a pic day so going up the down sections I'd be more willing to stop and shoot. Wouldn't want to mess with the flow if I was descending. If you start on Marie Creek from up at the lake, you'll hit these stairs not too far in, and then right after you'll crest the high point and start descending down in the creek bed and eventually meet up with the intersection for start of Manzanita. I'd say that's the most challanging trail up there as a whole. Others may disagree.
    Last edited by JMac47; 02-28-2013 at 12:29 AM. Reason: typo
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    I like the shot of your bike glowing in the sun.
    It was a Skyline Vortex moment. I was getting re-charged for the next climb....:@
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elacrosse7 View Post
    Where is that on the trail?
    Sorry missed this one. Where is what? The steps or the pigfest area?

    JMac
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerms View Post
    "Massive" park fees? I think we need to keep in mind that those fees pay for the upkeep on a fantastic bike-legal singletrack trail system. To put it in perspective, a car with 4 people has a $5 day-use fee for Skyline. Tamarancho is $5 per person (so $20 for a car of 4), and it has half of the amount of bike-legal singletrack that Skyline does. I don't mean to stand on a soapbox, but $1.25 per person in a car of 4 people does not constitute "massive" fees in my mind, especially when it goes to helping these trails stay open and well maintained.
    You're right, of course.

    It's just a little more painful to me as I'm usually alone, and it hurts to pay the entire fee by myself.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    Where is what? The steps or the pigfest area?

    JMac
    Next time I ride Skyline, I'll have to check out the pig mud fest first hand, crazy amount of damage they can do!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    May I ask why? Isn't this just a ride up, ride back down ride? Or is there more to it these days?
    There is "more" then cllimbing up and down on the main trail, but it can get pretty overgrown and full of posion oak. I havn't ridden since last year and is where I got my worst case of posion oak that I have ever had! That was enough to keep me away!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    May I ask why? Isn't this just a ride up, ride back down ride? Or is there more to it these days?
    Yep, there's more to it. Some fun spurs off the main trail, sortof like your volunteer routes up at Hogan . I don't recall too much PO but I'm not affected by it and don't really take too much notice of it. And usually these are wetter/off season time of year rides when I'm out and about up there.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  34. #34
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    did not have skyline on the radar so far. rockville was quite high on my list, but i think we will give skyline a try as well when we're over there in april.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keepiru View Post
    did not have skyline on the radar so far. rockville was quite high on my list, but i think we will give skyline a try as well when we're over there in april.
    Post up when your ready to ride these spots and someone might be able to show you around. I can ride most any weekday with a day or 2 notice and would be happy to show you around Rockville or Skyline. Rockville especially is best with some one who knows it well. Otherwise it can get confusing with the maze of short trails and youll probably miss some of the fun sections.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keepiru View Post
    did not have skyline on the radar so far. rockville was quite high on my list, but i think we will give skyline a try as well when we're over there in april.
    Yeah, fuenstock's got you covered!

    If this is the general "area" you'll be staying in/around, I'd also suggest OatHill Mine Trail (which is nearby Skyline in the Napa Valley corridor on the opposite side, north-west, of the Rockville ridge area). I't's an up/down out and back ride from the town of Calistoga varying from 8-16 miles depending on how "far out" you go. As a "typical" XC ride, I'd say it's more of a tech trail with steep(er) climbing sections of loose/hardpacked and rocky granite steps and ledge sections thrown in.

    Anorther area close by is Annadel State Park which will give you alot of trails, 25-30 mi depending on your route choice(s). Camping nearby in the Spring Lake recreational area. Boggs Demonsrtration Forest near the town of Cobb is another gem a little farther up the road. You can primitive camp (pit restroom/fresh waterspout at CDF station on the way in)there also.
    Last edited by JMac47; 03-01-2013 at 09:55 AM. Reason: typo
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    Quote Originally Posted by fuenstock View Post
    Post up when your ready to ride these spots and someone might be able to show you around. I can ride most any weekday with a day or 2 notice and would be happy to show you around Rockville or Skyline. Rockville especially is best with some one who knows it well. Otherwise it can get confusing with the maze of short trails and youll probably miss some of the fun sections.
    Thx for your answers!
    We will gladly accept your offer. We will be in Oakland from 20th of april to 5th may and try to ride as much awesome spots as possible. in general: its allways more fun if you have locals with you on the trail. they usually know where to go. so, feel free to contact me if you want to show 2 germans your home-spot. we will reward it with some beer!

    oat mine is on my "must do" list, and anadel as well.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keepiru View Post
    Thx for your answers!
    We will gladly accept your offer. We will be in Oakland from 20th of april to 5th may and try to ride as much awesome spots as possible. in general: its allways more fun if you have locals with you on the trail. they usually know where to go. so, feel free to contact me if you want to show 2 germans your home-spot. we will reward it with some beer!

    oat mine is on my "must do" list, and anadel as well.
    When do you arrive? I can lead an Annadel ride on April 20th if that works for you? I can also be fuenstock backup for Rockville or join you all as well.

    I'm out of town April 27th.

    Let me know if I can help in anyway.

    Larry
    You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.

    -Joe Louis

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    Quote Originally Posted by LJ0913 View Post
    When do you arrive? I can lead an Annadel ride on April 20th if that works for you? I can also be fuenstock backup for Rockville or join you all as well.

    I'm out of town April 27th.

    Let me know if I can help in anyway.

    Larry
    We fly in on the 20th afternoon to SFO, pick up car, get to oakland, and need some time ti fight an EVIL jetlag and build up the bikes. so we're ready for ride on the 21th.

  40. #40
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    Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)

    Cool. Here's where I can lead and if you're up for a ride on the 21st.

    Annadel
    Rockville
    Skyline
    Mt.Diablo

    Rockville is closet to Oakland (40 min drive) that you picked. Mt.Diablo is about a 20 min drive from Oakland with lots of climbing.
    You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.

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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwix View Post

    Now I'm craving an Endo pic Finch!
    Here ya go. Satisfied?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rockville vs. Skyline (Napa)-endo.jpg  


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    Went for a long ride in rockville today, lots of (friendly) hikers but some pretty awesome chunder up there.
    Skyline is next on my list

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by LJ0913 View Post
    Cool. Here's where I can lead and if you're up for a ride on the 21st.

    Annadel
    Rockville
    Skyline
    Mt.Diablo

    Rockville is closet to Oakland (40 min drive) that you picked. Mt.Diablo is about a 20 min drive from Oakland with lots of climbing.
    Sounds great!
    I think we'll just let choose you and meet up there.
    Thx for your great offer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Here ya go. Satisfied?
    Oh yeah, very gratified. He must of had a great romp at Hogan!

  45. #45
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    Is skyline a good place to take a beginner? My wife is getting back on the trail after having our twins and wanted to know if this would be a good moderate ride for her.

  46. #46
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    I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner . Lake Marie rd is the main access up it gets steep the other trails have a lot of rocks so a beninner would be walking alot. A more beginner ridr would be China Camp
    (Bayshore Trail). Speaking of China Camp the Bicycle Trails Council of the Est Bay (btceb .com ) will be holding the monthly gala ride there this Saturday. There will be rides for all skill levels and after ride snacks /drinks.

  47. #47
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    I live in Napa, and can recommend Skyline for biking and hiking. You can bike all the way from downtown Napa to Skyline and back now on the new(ish) paths.
    Finish the ride and get a beer and burger at Downtown Joes Brewery.
    Please bring a rifle and do some hog-hunting while you're at it. They are an invasive species and really mess up the local ecology in the valley.
    Great shots JMac 47!

  48. #48
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    i'v never been on skyline but when my family and i lived in Napa my dad and oldest brother would ride skyline quite often and he says that skyline is a much better place to ride, skyline is much more technical than Rockville, the trails are longer and steeper, and the UCI world cup was there and my dad and brother rode that 1999 and 2000 they rode with the eagle cycling club. my brother got 1st one year and 3rd the next but the year he got 3rd he had to ride in the division above him because my wouldn't let him ride on Sunday.

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