Location and Arrival Solano Community College – Park at 545 Columbus Parkway in Vallejo. There are automated machines available to get a $1 parking permit. After parking in any spot, cross the street on foot and then turn right. Walk until you see a cattle gate on your left. The cattle gate has a chain around it but it is not locked. Please be sure to close the gate after passing through it and put the chain back as you found it. If y0u do not do this, the cattle in the area can escape. Head up the trail to the launches.
Optimal Conditions West at 7-12 MPH Flyable from 245-308 (wsw-wnw)
Choosing your launch Depending on wind strength and pilot skill, you can launch from 3 places on the hill.
Top Launch - The Top Launch (red X) is great for lighter days, there is not a lot of room to kite there, so this is a bit advanced. Hazards at this launch include sharp rocks that can cut lines and a barb wire fence that runs the length of the main ridge.
North Launch – The North Launch (blue X) is large and works great on most days. It is the main launch. It allows pilots to move higher or lower on the hill depending on the wind strength. The wind at this launch is often cross from the south or and requires strong kiting skills to launch safely. There are no hazards on the launch itself but trees, rocks, and fences are not far away.
Mid Launch – The Mid Launch (purple X) is a slightly shorter hike so some pilots like to use it in stronger conditions. It is almost always a safer decision to go to North Launch but pilots often launch from Mid Launch. Do not try to launch from Mid Launch in a southwest wind. Hazards at this launch include sharp rocks, rotor from the surrounding obstacles, poison oak, and trees. Terrain Above is a view from the air looking at the site. The red lines mark the boundaries for most pilots. Do not fly behind the ridge top unless you are a very experienced thermal pilot with a lot of altitude. Note the trees marked in orange, these trees create rotor, don’t go in the rotor zone unless you are at ridge height or above. If you fly past the 3 red lines on the map above, it is often a struggle to get back to the main soaring ridge and you will likely sink out and have to land in a less than desirable area. Also note that St. Johns Mine Road and the valley associated with it create a large venturi that a pilot could easily get trapped in. The terrain at Blue Rock is complicated with a lot of subtleties; this guide is not meant to be exhaustive. Do not fly Blue Rock without a proper site introduction from a local pilot and be sure to ask a lot of questions.
Air This site is inland. The air can range from smooth laminar flow to very thermic bumpy conditions or anywhere in between. Blue Rock is used for both ridge soaring and thermal flying depending on the conditions. Ridge soaring at this site often requires tight turns low to the ground in order to maintain flight. On thermal days, it is possible to get thousands of feet above the hill. The site record was a flight from Blue Rock to Chico. Be cautious of warm thermic days in spring and summer as the air can become very active. In general, is it is not advisable to fly here in the middle of a warm summer day.
Landing The small blue x in the above map view marks the main landing area. Strong landing skills are needed as it is downward slope. It is often necessary to land crosswind in this area. Landing hazards in this area are rocks that are often hard to see from the sky. Although the landing area looks generous in size, many pilots struggle with the proximity to Columbus Parkway, Saint John’s Mine Road, and the restricted frog area on the southeast side of the intersection that is surrounded by a barbed wire fence.
The large blue X represents a much easier place to land if you have the height to cross Saint John’s Mine Road. It is nicknamed “the runway” because it is long and straight and very often into the wind direction. The landing hazards are all parallel to the landing area and include a ditch, fence, and major roadway. There is also one single ditch that cuts perpendicular across “the runway”
If you intend to fly at Blue Rock it is mandatory to walk both main landing areas before taking flight.
Property This property is owned by the City of Vallejo and has been set aside for public recreation. This site has been flown regularly since 2008. We operate here with the support of the local community so please be respectful to homeowners and hikers. This site also supports grazing cattle. Take caution when making an approach and stay clear of any nearby animals.
Pilot Requirements Although Blue Rock is an unregulated site, a USHPA P3 rating is strongly encouraged. P1s and P2s are welcome if they have an instructor present. P2s may fly solo at Blue Rock if they have had at least one day of instruction at the site. A site intro is mandatory for this site, please text Rob at 707 654 6750.
Other Notes There are no restroom facilities or food vendors at this site so be prepared. Under no circumstances should you drive or hike up St. John's Mine Rd. We have the agreement with the property owners that we would not use this road and violating this may jeopardize the site.