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Take a Hike

Most people think of wine, food, vines, and highway 29 when they think of Napa Valley, but there are plenty of other activities, like hiking. Some of the most outstanding hiking in the Bay Area is on the Palisades and Oat Hill Mine trails near Calistoga. The Vaca and Mayacama mountain ranges offer beautiful views and an opportunity to work off all that food and wine, or appease your non-drinking companions.

Skyline Wilderness Park has 850 acres of trails and has something for everyone. From hiking, to picnicking to horseback riding, Skyline includes over 25 miles of trails and a short main trail (just over 2 miles) that leads to Lake Marie. Most trails are not strenuous and the ridge trail, which offers views all the way across the bay to Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County on a clear day, is worth the sweat you’ll break on the way up. Situated in the Southeast corner of Napa, Skyline Park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including deer and wild turkey. There is a daily visitor’s fee.

Imola Ave off Soscol / Hwy 221(Napa Vallejo Hwy) go 1.3 miles OR

Imola off Hwy 29 (cross over Soscol / Hwy 221)

Bale Grist Mill State Park. The park is the site of a water-powered grist mill that was built in 1846. It was once the center of social activity as Napa Valley settlers gathered to have their corn and wheat ground into meal or flour. The owner of the mill was Dr. Edward Turner Bale. He received the property in a land grant from the Mexican government and lived near the site until his death in 1849. The mill remained in use until the early 1900s, and today, the mill and its 36-foot water wheel are protected as a state historic landmark and have been partially restored. A trail connects the historic park to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Additionally, the park includes the site of the first church in the Napa Valley and the Pioneer Cemetery.

5 miles north of St. Helena and 4 miles south of Calistoga on Highway 29/128

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. For the ultimate peace and quiet, head for this little slice of open space filled with some of the easternmost coastal redwood trees in the state. Located just north of St. Helena on Napa Valley’s busy Highway 29, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park features a hiking loop with lots of variety and rewarding views. Start the hike alongside Ritchey Creek, where redwood groves and large maple trees with autumn-gold leaves shade the way. The path eventually veers and rises steadily; near the summit, the trees give way and the trail becomes exposed. The best views are from just below Coyote Peak, where a break in the forest creates a wide-angle panorama of St. Helena and the Vaca Mountain Range. Complete the loop by descending the south side of the peak, which links up again with the Ritchey Canyon Trail.

5 miles north of St. Helena and 4 miles south of Calistoga on Highway 29/128

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. This 5,000-acre park hosts Mt. St. Helena as well as a statue of the famous author for which the park was named. The Mt. St. Helena Trail starts your climb up the mountain about 300 feet west of the main parking area. The trail meanders at a gentle grade through forest for 3/4 mile to a stone monument, which marks the site where Robert Louis Stevenson spent his honeymoon in an abandoned mine building during the summer of 1880. From here, you climb more steeply and leave the forest to intersect the fire road. After a short walk, you can look down on the patchwork of the upper Napa Valley and beyond to Mount Diablo and Mount Tamalpais. As you continue on the south-facing slope of the mountain, you’ll be surrounded by chaparral, and the higher up you go, the more exhilarating the view. At 3.6 miles, a road branches to the left leading to a ½-mile hike to the South Peak.

Calistoga / Silverado Trail is approximately 7-8 miles north of CA Hwy 29, and parking is available at mile marker 49

Oat Hill Mine Road. For serious hikers, Table Rock Trail (3 miles, moderate difficulty) winds though forests and chaparral to a scenic overlook. It connects to Palisades Trail (4 miles, moderately strenuous), which connects to Oat Hill Mine Road (4.5 miles, moderate). Both the 3-mile and 11-mile hikes will start at the Table Rock Trailhead in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. The five-mile hike will be an out-and-back to Table Rock, rated moderate, returning to the trailhead. The 11-mile hike, rated strenuous, is a thru-hike ending at the Oat Hill Trailhead, which is one mile east of Calistoga. Hikers also can access Oat Hill Mine Road from a trailhead at Highway 29 and Silverado Trail in Calistoga.

Westwood Hills Park. On the way up to Mt. Veeder Appellation and the Hess Collection winery, you’ll find this quaint park with 3-miles of diversely forested trails. From open meadows to dense woods, this hike offers views of Napa, nice picnic spots and even a small museum that showcases many of the plants and animals found in the area. It’s not a hike to plan your day around, but it’s convenient and a great excuse to visit some excellent off the beaten path wineries as you wind up Mt. Veeder enjoying views across the valley.

Browns Valley Road about 2 miles west of Highway 29 (First St. exit)

The Napa Valley Vine Trail

Imagine… one trail connecting people and places, culture and commerce, residents and visitors.

One trail: a 47-mile safe and sustainable linear park, perfect for walking, biking, and running, inviting people of all ages, all abilities to move and improve their lives.

A work in progress, the first section of the trail was opened in late 2010, located right across the street from the Napa Valley Lodge.  Locally called the “Yountville Mile,” this section of trail is actually just under one mile, and links California Drive to Madison Street.  Though short, the trail offers scenic views of the Napa Valley hills is a taste of what is under development.

The Napa Valley Vine Trail will run from the Napa River Wetlands to Calistoga’s Hot Springs: beginning in historic Vallejo at the Vallejo Ferry Terminal (thus linking with the greater bay area), the vine trail will continue north, through the world-renowned vineyards and towns of Napa Valley, to its terminus at the Oat Hill Mine Trail (at Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail) at the foot of Mt. St. Helena, just east of downtown Calistoga.