Robert Louis Stevenson State Park is 5,272 acres and contains awesome views of Napa, Sonoma and Lake County from the summit of the highest peak in the California Wine Country, Mount St. Helena. Parking can be found in a dirt lot just off Highway 29 and the park is marked with signs. On clear days, the Pacific Ocean, the Sierra Nevada mountains, Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen are also visible. This mostly undeveloped park is home to the area where Stevenson and his bride spent their honeymoon in an abandoned bunkhouse of the Silverado Mine. A marble memorial marks the site of the bunkhouse. Stevenson’s stay in 1880 inspired the writer’s travel memoir The Silverado Squatters, and Mount St. Helena is thought to be a portrait of Spyglass Hill in Treasure Island.
Hiking and biking are the main activities and the trails to the north climb to the summit of Mount St. Helena, while the trail to the south lead hikers to Table Rock, the volcanic cliffs of the Palisades, and a connection to the Oat Hill Mine Trail and the outskirts of the City of Calistoga.
As the park is large, hikers and bikers can find a variety of nature to explore. On Mount St. Helena the trail leads through Douglas fir, live oak, madrones, tanbark oak and manzanita trees. On the Palisades, the trail leads through grassy hillsides, oak groves and chaparral with amazing volcanic rock formations to explore. The Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District is expected to assume management of the park in 2016.
The two trails leading to the top of Mt. St. Helena are:
- 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.
- Mount St. Helena Trail is a switch back fire road up the southern facing slopes of the mountain. The trail can be accessed either by the fire road entrance located ¼ mile east of the Highway 29 parking lot or by taking the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Trail.
The trails heading southeast along the Palisades are:
- The Table Rock Trail, which departs from the parking lot on Highway 29 and heads south to the massive Table Rock volcanic formation following an old utility road and single-tread path.
- Palisades Trail connects the Table Rock Trail with the Oat Hill Mine Trail and follows the base of the Palisades volcanic rock formations.
- Please note:
- The best way to experience this portion of Robert Louis Stevenson State Park is to arrange for a car shuttle between the parking lot on Highway 29 and the base of Oat Hill Mine Trail in the City of Calistoga.
- These trails are rugged, and require clamoring over volcanic rock formations and down water run-off channels.
- There have been helicopter rescues due to heat exhaustion, dehydration and ankle and other injuries.
- The trail, however, is arguably one of the best in Napa County and provides amazing vistas and volcanic rock formations that are globally unique and are best seen from this vantage point.