Rio Vista: Montezuma Hills-Birds Landing-Collinsville

Monday, February 2, 2015

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This route heads west from Rio Vista through the wind farms along the gentle rolling Montezuma Hills to Birds Landing. Continue south on Collinsville Rd to the DWR Collinsville Day-Use Area along the eastern side of Montezuma Slough. Head north on Shiloh Rd to the pastoral ranch lands and return south on Birds Landing Rd to Montezuma Hills. The detour along Anderson Rd leads to the 3 mile section of gravel road on Emigh Rd. Complete the ride with a short out and back stretch on Beach Dr to Sandy Beach Park.

Begin the ride at the Waterfront Park in Rio VistaThis park features a beautiful promenade along the Sacramento River water front and is popular with walkers, photographers, dog lovers, joggers and fishing enthusiasts. The area features a nearby fishing dock, a fish cleaning station, picnic tables, and BBQs. The Waterfront Promenade parking lot is adjacent to the Rio Vista Bridge. (http://solanoopenspace.org/OtherOutdoor.asp)

Head south on N Front St and continue through the residential neighborhood on S 2nd St to Montezuma Hills Rd.

Montezuma Hills Rd exits town through the Montezuma Hills; this road runs westward for almost 10 rolling miles towards Birds Landing. The Montezuma Hills comprise a small range of low-elevation hills at the northern banks of the Sacramento River Delta in Solano County, California. The hills are bounded by the Sacramento River on the south and east; the Montezuma Slough on the west and roughly by California State Route 12 on the north. The peaks of these rolling hills vary in height from about 164 to 279 feet.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montezuma_Hills) 

The expansive open space around the Montezuma Hills is primarily used as pastoral lands for goats, sheep and cattle. The picturesque countryside has a scattering of rural ranches with old weathered wooden barns and steel grain silos. Agricultural farms also share the space along with the turbines that provide wind energy. There are over 750 wind turbines belonging to the three renewable energy projects (Shiloh Wind Power Plant, NextEra Energy Resources’ High Winds Energy Center and one owned by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District) on the Montezuma Hills, close to the city. There are plans to add a further 200 wind turbines. (http://riovista.org/about-rio-vista/)

This is the season to see sheep out on the fields with their newborn lambs in tow.

Montezuma Hills Rd drops down into Clank Hollow before coming to a T at Birds Landing Rd.

Head west on Birds Landing Rd along Lucol Hollow pass the rural homes and sheep/cattle ranches to the small community at Birds Landing.

The route continues south on flat rolling terrain through the ranches and farm houses on Collinsville Rd for 3.2 miles; the road goes along the east side of Grizzly Island with expansive views of the flat wetlands and green fields to Collinsville.

The turn on Fire Truck Rd leads us west for 1.8 miles on flat terrain through the wetlands and grasslands on the eastern side of Montezuma Slough in the Suisun Marsh.

The road ends at the DWR Collinsville Day-Use Area; the area has a a fishing pier, picnic tables and porta-potties. You can ride along the levee to view the Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates and boat locks at Montezuma Slough.

Reverse your way out on Fire Truck Rd to Collinsville Rd; on the return you can hear the firing of guns from the Birds Landing Hunting Preserve & Sporting Clays. Folks can hunt pheasants or go skeet shooting on a specially designed range.

I had planned to stop at Shirley’s Place at the Tavern for lunch but it’s closed on Mondays; this bar was used as the setting for the Clint Eastwood movie “Honkytonk Man” back in 1982. It’s no problem because we always pack PBJ sandwiches, but if you need food, there is a restaurant back at the hunting preserve. Water is available across the street at the Montezuma Fire Station.

Head north out of Birds Landing on Collinsville Rd for the next 0.8 mile.

The road name changes to Shiloh Rd and continues on flat-rolling terrain for the next 6.3 miles to Hwy 12; it rolls through the idyllic back country setting with views of the vast grasslands and wetlands in Suisun Marsh to the west and the wind farms to the east.

Cross Hwy 12 with caution and continue on Lambie Rd to Goose Haven and Creed Rd; these road cuts across flat agricultural fields and ranch lands of a small ranching community south of Dixon.

Turn right on Hwy 113; this flat 2 lane road returns south to Hwy 12.

Cross Hwy 12 onto Birds Landing Rd; the 4.8 miles of rolling terrain on this road heads south pass Hamilton Sheep Ranch and continues through the ranch lands and farmhouses to the Montezuma Hills.

Turn left on Montezuma Hills Rd and return east through the ranches and wind farms for the next 6.6 rolling miles to Anderson Rd.

Anderson Rd is a nice little detour off Montezuma Hills Rd; it gently winds around the hills towards Hierlihy Ranch to Emigh Rd.

The right turn onto Emigh Rd takes you on a 3 miles section of gravel road; it becomes a paved road when you see the bright red barn at Amerada Rd.

Emigh Rd cuts through the Montezuma Hills and drops back down to Montezuma Hills Rd. The left turn on Montezuma Hills Rd leads back into Rio Vista.

Take a right on Beach Dr for the out and back to Sandy Beach Park.

This scenic park is located on the Sacramento River with a sandy beach, boat launch, picnic areas and a campground.

Head back through the residential homes on S 2nd St.

N Front Rd leads back to the Rio Vista Riverbank-Waterfront Park.

This is a very scenic tour around eastern Solano County through the wind turbines farms and country ranches along the gentle rolling Montezuma Hills to the small picturesque rural communities at Birds Landing and Collinsville. Enjoy the expansive open grasslands and wetlands around the Suisun Marsh! Check the wind conditions for the area before committing to this route-the turbines are out there for a reason!

Garmin Stats:
61.42 Miles with 2195′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 189′
Max grade: 10%
Terrain: Flat-rolling with a few low hills

Weather: Sunny and breezy with patchy afternoon skies. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the low 60’s. SW > NW winds with 77% humidity.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Montezuma Hills

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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