Driving into the hills of Lagoon Valley Park on the western edge of Vacaville can feel, oddly, like a visit to a sporting goods store.
Just off Interstate 80 sit the horseshoe pits and all-purpose playing fields. The road curves around the water and comes to a 27-hole disc golf course that stretches to the very edge of the lagoon. Continue down the asphalt, and the archery course awaits, along with a sign warning visitors that archers may be firing.
The road ends at the radio-controlled airplane club, which sports two miniature runways arranged in a cross shape. On a calm day, boaters ply the lagoon among recreational fishers. A dachshund club has been known to conduct field trials there.
Last, but not least, are the hills themselves and the trails that attract all manner of hikers, mountain bikers, runners and horseback riders under a steady wind blowing in from San Francisco Bay. The geese at the park have been reported to be aggressive, however, and there aren’t a lot of trees to provide shade.
For a less-exertion diversion, there’s a 30,000-square-foot fenced-in dog park that’s a bit grim, but at least it has water receptacles. Nearby barbecue pits and picnic tables dot the lush grass.
It’s only slight exaggeration to say the park could keep the recreation-minded visitor busy for years. And it’s only about 40 minutes from Sacramento.
Even on a recent cold, rainy afternoon, adventurous, windbreakered groups trudged through the mud practicing their disc golf. On a hill, a bike rider coasted down from the A-Frame, an antenna array at the peak.
In the springtime, the hills turn a bright green, and Lagoon Valley Park’s 470 acres blossom in all their multiuse glory.
Weekend excursion: Lagoon Valley Park, Vacaville
Admission fee: $3 per vehicle
Directions to the park: From Sacramento, take Interstate 80 west heading toward the Bay Area. Take the Pena Adobe/Lagoon Valley exit. Go back under the freeway and follow the signs to Lagoon Valley.