2017-18 Fall Trail Challenge

Copy of Willow Entry Post

Fall is an amazing time to hike, bike, and horseback ride the parks and trails in Napa County!  Join the 2017-18 Napa Open Space District Fall Trails Challenge and win fabulous prizes.  Contest extended to February 23, 2018 due to the wildfires and the temporary closure of some of the trails.

To enter:

  • Photograph you and/or your buddies hiking, biking or horseback riding on 5 of the 10 trails listed below;
  • Upload the photos to Facebook – Friends of the Napa Open Space District or to Instagram*; and
  • #NOSD


Grand Prize:  Spend 2 nights in the newly renovated cabins at Bothe Napa Valley State Park.  The cabins consist of a kitchen, bathroom, one queen bed and a futon nestled in the beautiful pine trees of the park.  During the summer months enjoy the spring fed pool, hike the beautiful trails back into the canyons, or head over the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park and watch the 35-foot water wheel turn, milling wheat, polenta and other grains.  One lucky winner and guest will be chosen and dates to be jointly determined in advance with the NOSD.

Prize:  Spend 2 nights at EcoCamp Berryessa, a 64-bed group environmental education camp located on the peaceful northern shoreline of Lake Berryessa. The camp, which was completed in 2015 and funded through a major grant from the State Coastal Conservancy, features solar power, showers feeding into a graywater system, environmentally friendly composting toilets, permanent tent cabins, a stone amphitheater, a canoe/kayak launch, a beach, and countless paths and trails connecting the visitor to the beauty of Lake Berryessa, which surrounds the camp on three sides. In keeping with its name, EcoCamp Berryessa was designed with an eye to energy-efficiency, use of natural and/or recycled materials, and resource conservation.  Consisting of approximately 10 acres, the site is characterized by blue oak woodlands, open grassland, and chamise. Several pair of osprey nest onsight and it is not unusual to see bald eagles, river otter, and a resident grey fox. One lucky winner and 3 guests will be chosen with dates jointly determined in advance with the NOSD.

Prize:  Spend 2 nights camping at the newly acquired property on the top of Mt. Veeder, The Cove!  At an elevation of 2,677 feet, Mt. Veeder is the highest peak entirely within Napa County. The eastern side of the mountain resembles a crater from an extinct volcano (though it isn’t), forming the “cove” where a rustic girl scout camp is located.  Once referred to as the Napa Redwoods, the area in and around The Cove was a major summer resort destination for nearly a century. The Cove itself was acquired by the Girl Scouts of Northern California in 1964, and has been used since then by both the Girl Scouts as well as many other organizations and groups.  One lucky winner and 3 guests will be chosen with dates jointly determined in advance with the NOSD.

Prize: Check out the Napa Valley from 1500 – 2000 feet on a Napa Valley Aloft Hot Air Balloon!  To learn more about Napa Valley Aloft, check out their website – http://nvaloft.com.  One lucky winner and guest will be chosen and dates to be jointly determined in advance with Napa Valley Aloft Hot Air Balloon.


Keep an eye out for additional prizes that may be added during the challenge!

Here are the trails:

Trail #1) American Canyon Wetlands

The American Canyon Wetlands Open Space is located in and around the City of American Canyon, and managed jointly by the City of American Canyon and the Napa Open Space District.  Following the Napa-Sonoma Marsh shore line, the trails provide a variety of ways to explore the marshland and Napa River.  The wetlands can be accessed by the Napa River Trail, which when complete, will follow the Napa River between Wetlands Edge Drive in American Canyon to Trancas Crossing Park in the City of Napa, and by the San Francisco Bay Trail, which when completed, will circle the San Francisco Bay.  The wetlands are a great place for bird watching and enjoying the sunrise or sunset. There are two entrances to the trails, one at the end of Green Island Road (where there is also a kayak and canoe launch ramp and other short unimproved levee-top trails) and the other on Wetlands Edge Road and Eucalyptus Drive where there is paved parking and porta-potties. Congressman Mike Thompson’s Hike and Bike loop is a two-mile loop around an old decommissioned landfill and is open to hikers, bikers and equestrians.

Napa River and Bay Trail 5.4 miles round trip – no elevation change

Bike Friendly

Congressman Mike Thompson’s Hike and Bike loop 2-mile loop – no elevation change

Horse and Bike Friendly

Trail #2) Newell Open Space Preserve

Newell Open Space Preserve comprises of 620 acres in the eastern foothills of American Canyon above the High School. Parking and the trailheads are located at the end of Donaldson Way and Newell Dr. In 1999, the Newell Family donated the parcel, creating open space for 5 miles of trails through hillside grass and oak wood lands that connect with Solano County’s Lynch Canyon, and an additional 8 miles of trails. The preserve is a prime spot on the raptor migration route and has views that extend to San Pablo Bay, Mount Tamalpais, and Sonoma County. Open to hikers, bikers and equestrians, the Preserve continues to be utilized for grazing and cattle can be found resting under oak trees out of the sun or grazing on the hillsides.

Newell Loop Trail 3.82 miles – 613-foot elevation change

Horse and Bike Friendly


Trail #3) Skyline Park – Manzanita Trail to Marie Creek Trail or Skyline Trail with optional Tuteur Loop extension

Manzanita Trail starts just beyond the Skyline Park entrance by the kiosk and skirts the archery range and RV Camp before following the east side of the park.  There is little to no shade and can be hot in the summer.  Connect to the Thatcher Rim Rock Trail and follow the northern boundary of the park.  You can either continue to head up the trail along the Tuteur Loop & Bay Area Ridge Trail, which when combined with other Skyline trails creates a 10-mile loop into the ridge line of the southern Vaca Mountains. Or you can return either via the Marie Creek Trail or the Skyline Trail from Thatcher Rim Rock.

Manzanita Trail to Thatcher Rim Rock to Marie Creek 5.02 miles

Manzanita Trail to Thatcher Rim Rock to Skyline Trail 7.84 miles with 2 peaks

Manzanita Trail to Thatcher Rim Rock to Tuteur Loop to Marie Creek 6.53 miles

Manzanita Trail to Thatcher Rim Rock to Tuteur Loop to Skyline Trail 9.35 miles

Elevation change is about 1500 feet

Horse and Bike Friendly

Park  Fees Apply

Skyline Run copy

Trail #4) Moore Creek Park – Moore Creek Trail

Moore Creek Trail runs along a gravel fire road for approximately one mile until it reaches the “Ranch House” (a private residence and home to the Park’s caretaker). At the Ranch House the path splits.  Stay straight and continue north on Moore Creek Trail. From that point, the trail following Moore Creek is a combination of abandoned dirt ranch road and singletrack that has multiple stream crossings (five).  Once the trail ends at the creek, walk downstream (about 100 yards) to the natural pools to cool down.

Moore Creek Trail 3.06 miles – elevation change of 462 feet

Horse and Bike Friendly

Trail #5 Moore Creek Park – Sam the Eagle

Sam the Eagle Trail is a flowy singletrack trail that connects Shoreline Trail  to Alta Hennessey Trail. Designed and built by our friends at Forest Trails Alliance, it is a joy to hike or ride either uphill or down and is named after a bald eagle that likes to roost on an old grey pine next to the trail as he surveys his lakefront domain.

Shoreline Trail to Sam the Eagle to Alta Hennessey roundtrip 7.8 miles – 300-foot elevation change

Horse and Bike Friendly


Trail #6 Bothe Napa Valley State Park – Ritchey Canyon Trail

Ritchey Canyon Trail is a 4 mile (one way) out-and-back hike that takes you through the park on historic routes. Your hike starts along a year-round stream shaded by redwoods, firs and thickets of spice bush. You’ll pass the campgrounds along lower Ritchey Creek and at about 1 mile, you will recognize some common garden trees and shrubs as you walk through what was once Lillie Hitchcock Coit’s country home away from San Francisco. The old stone fountain and redwood barn date from the Hitchcock days. The trail then steepens and connects with the Upper Ritchey Canyon Trail eventually ending at the site of the old Traverso homestead with a few of the old orchard trees still in evidence.

Ritchey Canyon Trail 4 miles – 1338 elevation change

Park fees apply

Hiking At Bothe

Hiking At Bothe

Trail # 7 Bothe Napa Valley State Park – History Trail

History Trail is a moderate, 2.4-mile round trip singletrack trail (sorry, due to California State Park regulations bikes are not allowed) connecting Bothe Napa Valley State Park and the Bale Grist Mill State Park. Points of interest along the way include Pioneer Cemetery, which contains the remains of several early Napa Valley pioneers, the site of White Church, the first church in Napa Valley, and the fully restored Bale Grist Mill, a water-powered gristmill circa 1846.

The trail passes through dense forest, clearings filled with chaparral shrubs, and a riparian corridor along Mill Creek. This trail will be of interest to plant and bird lovers as well as history buffs. Note: There is an additional fee of $5.00 per adult/ $2.00 per child to enjoy the mill grounds and take a tour of the mill. On weekends, you can watch grain being milled with the historic stones powered by the 36 ½ foot wooden water wheel.

History Trail 2.4 miles – 195-foot elevation change

Park fees apply


Large Manzanita on the History Trail

Trail #8) Oat Hill Mine Trail

The trail, once a stage couch route between Calistoga and Aetna Springs, provides a magnificent recreational experience for hikers, mountain bicyclists and equestrians, although the trail is rough and rocky in many places, and can be quite challenging.  Visitors can enjoy sweeping views of Napa Valley along the lower Oat Hill Mine Trail, while the middle and upper sections of the trail cross striking volcanic formations. The trail passes through a diverse mixture of Oak, Douglas Fir, Gray Pine and Cypress forests, chaparral, and grasslands.  Keep an eye out for wagon wheel ruts on the trail.  Hike to Holms place, turn around and return to the parking lot.

Horse & Bike friendly.

9 miles round trip – 1936 feet elevation change

Trail #9) Robert Louis Stevenson State Park – Mount St. Helena

Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Trail is a 1.2-mile one-way trail that leads from the parking lot on Highway 29 to the site of the bunkhouse at the Silverado Mine where Stevenson and his bride spent their honeymoon.  The trail switchbacks up the hillside through gorgeous Douglas Firs and Oak trees.  A short distance after the memorial marker the trail connects to the Mount St. Helena fire road and the trail to the summit for 3.8 miles.  As the trail is a fire road it is well graveled and smooth, however there is very little shade.  Once on top of the mountain there are trails leading to the north and south peaks for different vistas of Northern California.  The views of Mt. Shasta and Lassen to the north, the Sierra Nevada mountains to the east, Mt. Diablo and Tamalpais to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west are well work the hike, for a true top-of-the-world experience.

Horse & Bike friendly on the fire road.

10 miles round trip – 2030 feet elevation change


Trail #10) Lake Berryessa – North Trail

The North End Trail follows the contours of the Lake and multiple access points along its 4.3-mile length, allowing for whatever distance you choose and is part of an effort to build a trail circumnavigating the entire lake. The trail provides spectacular views of the Lake, has access for swimming and is a phenomenal bird watching trail with raptors and water birds visible from the shoreline. Major repair and renovation of the trail by the Forest Trails Alliance have been ongoing providing for smoother biking and creek crossings.

North Trail 4.3 miles one way – 66-foot elevation change

Bike friendly


*All photos uploaded during the contest to social media sites subject for use by the Napa Open Space District to share the beauty of our parks and trails.