Oat Hill Mine Trail and Robert Louis Stevenson State Park
Oat Hill Mine Trail offers panoramic views of the valley as it climbs over 1500 feet up the eastern hills above Calistoga known as The Palisades. Within the first 1/4 mile you’ll find breathtaking views at every turn. Follow the trail approximately 4 miles to Holms Place (the homestead property of Karl Gustov Holm, now just the remnants of a stone wall and some fruit trees) where you can turn around and head back down, or continue up and over to Pope Valley and Aetna Springs Rd. (car shuttle required). Alternately you can park one car at the entrance to Robert Louis Stevenson State Park on Mt. St. Helena and follow the Table Rock Trail along the Palisades to Holms Place and down to the valley floor in Calistoga and your other car. This is a 10 mile one way adventure! All parts of Oat Hill MIne Trail can be quite technical in places with rocky terrain and, steep inclines and loose gravel. Bring plenty of water, a good hat, sturdy shoes and trekking poles! For more information stop by the store for a map or visit www.napaoutdoors.org
Robert Louis Stevenson State Park Hiking is the main activity at this undeveloped park. A trail to the west climbs to the summit of Mount St. Helena, while trails to the east lead hikers below the volcanic cliffs of the Palisades.
The view from the summit includes the nearby geyser country and when weather permits distant mountains such as Lassen, Shasta and the Sierra Nevada can be seen. The Park retains the wilderness aspect believed to have inspired some scenes in Treasure Island. It also was the setting for the Silverado Squatters, an autobiographical account of Robert Louis Stevenson’s stay there in 1880 while on his honeymoon. Although nothing remains of Stevenson’s cabin, the site is identified by a stone monument on the trail to the summit.
The Stevenson Memorial Trail takes you from the parking lot on Highway 29 to the summit of 4,343-foot Mt. Saint Helena. The first mile of the trail switchbacks through a shady single track trail, the latter 4 miles are on well-graded fire roads with very little shade. The last push to the summit is the steepest part of the hike, but offers the best views from the mountain south to the prominent Bay Area peaks, Mounts Diablo and Tamalpais. The steep climb is over quickly, and at 5.6 miles you’ll reach the top. This is a great trail to take on a cooler day as it can be very hot during the summer. The hike to the summit is 10 miles round trip with a 1,800-foot elevation gain. The views are well worth the hike, for a true top-of-the-world experience. For more information visit www.napavalleystateparks.org
Bothe Napa Valley State Park
Bothe Napa Valley State Park offers tent camping, cabin and yurt rentals, a seasonal spring fed swimming pool and over 10 miles worth of beautiful trails. Located 4 miles north of St. Helena on HWY 29, it is easily accessible and offers a little something for everyone! Try a casual stroll up the Redwood Trail along Ritchey Creek, or a more challenging climb up the Coyote Peak Trail for a nice view of the surrounding hills. Bring a picnic and enjoy a full day! You’ll receive a park map and up to date trail information as you enter ($8.00 day use fee). For camping reservations visit www.reservecalifornia.com and for more information on the park and trails visit www.napaoutdoors.org
Bale Grist Mill
Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park, in the northern heart of the Napa Valley, offers an authentic peek into California’s rural heritage. Built in 1846 by Edward Turner Bale, this fully restored water-powered grist mill is now managed by the Napa Open Space District in partnership with the Napa Valley State Parks Association, and still grinds grain. Visitors can watch the original set of French Buhr millstones in action when the miller grinds grain into Bale Mill flours and meals. In the late 1800s, Napa Valley farmers brought their grain to the mill where it was placed into the boot of an elevator to be mechanically transported upstairs to be cleaned and sifted by various types of equipment – a technical wonder for the Pioneers. The slow turning of the old grind stones gives the fresh meal a special quality for making cornbread, yellow bread, shortening bread and spoon bread. The mill is ADA accessible.
Moore Creek Park
Moore Creek Park is a multi-use, dog friendly park that encompasses 673 acres of canyon open space with perennial Moore Creek, and 900 acres of oak woodland on the northeastern side of Lake Hennessey. Hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and nature lovers will find trails through the grassy hillsides of eastern Napa Valley, following the Moore Creek Canyon and along the Lake Hennessey shore. If you’re a mountain biker, you’re going to want to check out the single track out here… It is world class! Our friends at St. Helena Cyclery can answer any questions you have.
The trails showcase the Oak, Douglas Fir and Madrones woodlands, grasslands and chaparral and the Park is home to wildlife including black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, gray fox, and coyote. Bald Eagles have been sighted at Lake Hennessey along with Golden Eagles, hawks, Osprey, Great Blue Heron, White Egrets, woodpeckers and loons. Parking is available in the gravel lot off Chiles Valley Road and is well marked with signs. Maps available at the store or visit www.napaoutdoors.org
Pacific Union College
Trails at Pacific Union College (more info coming soon!) For years, the trails of Pacific Union College’s forested lands have been known mostly by word of mouth; even students at the college were sometimes unaware of the college’s 35 miles of recreational trails through over 1,000 acres of rich biodiversity and striking beauty.
Now, thanks to a new trail license agreement between PUC, and the Napa Open Space District (NOSD), PUC’s forest is literally “on the map” for those who wish to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding through PUC’s coast redwoods, Douglas firs, Ponderosa pines, oaks, bay laurels, and Madrones. They may even see a rare Napa False Indigo or hear the calls of the threatened Northern Spotted Owl.
The agreement means the Napa Open Space District will assist PUC in maintaining the trail network and making it available to the general public for recreation and nature study while protecting the forest ecology.