Napa Valley is a beautiful getaway in Northern California known for its beloved wineries, high-end dining, and proximity to San Francisco, Sonoma, and the nearby redwood forest. However, many visitors don’t know that the area is also full of expansive open spaces and fantastic hiking trails.
With the right trails and guidance, visitors can explore even the most hidden gems of Napa Valley. From short strolls to biking, the expanding Napa Valley Vine Trail, there is something to suit any adventure itinerary.
Here, we highlight the best hiking trails that range in distance and difficulty to pair perfectly with your stay in Napa Valley.
Napa Valley Vine Trail
- Distance: 18.5 miles
- Difficulty: Moderate
The Napa Valley Vine Trail is not your average hiking trip. Instead, it is an impressive 18.5 miles of paved and unpaved trail winding through wine country, and it’s not done growing. Launched in 2008 as a creative way for visitors to experience the area’s famous vineyards, it might be the only trail in Napa Valley that is still expanding.
With a perspective end length of 47 miles, it will cover the entire territory, including Vallejo, Napa, and the Rail Arts District. Over 30 private and public groups are working together to work on this massive project that is expected to be finished in 2025. It will eventually connect both Solano and Napa County and two other big trail systems, the Bay Area Ridge Trail and San Francisco Bay Trail.
Today people celebrate the region’s heritage by hiking or biking the existing parts of the trail filled with fields of mustard and cultivated grapevine blooms. By bike, it is a great way to experience the hilly countryside and try to sample some of the best local wineries.
In addition, there are 51 educational signs with notes about the area’s history and ecology, making it a great family experience and one that the transit authority has acknowledged as lessening carbon-based tourist emissions.
The Lake Marie Trail via Skyline Trail
- Distance: 6.4 miles
- Difficulty: Moderate
The Lake Marie Trail via Skyline Trail is a beautiful and challenging hike with views of some of California’s best scenery that takes approximately three hours to complete, out, and back.
The terrain is mostly hilly, and are also plenty of places to take a break, so those who are looking for a challenging outing that’s also accessible should find this to be an ideal trail.
The trail features an abundance of stunning nature, like majestic pine trees, rock formations, and the serene Lake Marie. It also passes through the Skyline Wilderness Park, an 850-acre non-profit run protection area that features an archery range and disc golf.
Skyline Trail and Manzanita Trail Loop
- Distance: 4 miles
- Difficulty: Moderate
The Skyline Trail and Manzanita Trail Loop Trail in Napa Valley is an exciting and scenic opportunity for hikers to experience the beauty of California wine country. This moderate trail offers plenty of incredible views of the surrounding vineyards, rolling hills, and valleys.
This loop combines the Skyline Trail and Manzanita Trail, totaling 4.0 miles with an estimated time of just around two hours. This makes it a moderate length and difficulty, great for hikers of many levels.
The Skyline Trail and Manzanita Trail Loop offer some of the most beautiful features that the Napa Valley has to offer. Along the way, hikers will find many different kinds of plants and trees, including Bay laurel and Manzanita, as well as wildflowers and other wildlife. In addition, the overlooks offer stunning views of the surrounding vineyards, rolling hills, and valleys.
Westwood Hills Park Loop
- Distance: 2.2 miles
- Difficulty: Moderate
Westwood Hills Park Loop is a 2.2-mile trail just five minutes from Downtown Napa. The park in which it is located is beloved for its children’s nature library, dog-friendly trails, and 98 acres of prime picnic real estate.
This leisurely loop is rated as moderate in difficulty, with an estimated time of just over an hour. This trail begins and ends at the main parking lot and features a variety of sights and landscapes along the way.
The trail is dog friendly (leash required), and the loop provides beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and access to a few areas of the park that the trail can only reach. In addition, the trail has some challenging features, making it an enjoyable and rewarding hike for experienced hikers who visit Napa Valley.
Overall, Westwood Hills Park Loop is an excellent trail for hikers of all levels. The trail is well-maintained and provides beautiful scenery and exciting features along the way, including towering oak trees and a eucalyptus forest.
The Skyline Trail, Thatcher’s Rim Rock Trail, and Lake Marie Road Loop
- Distance: 7 miles
- Difficulty: Hard
If you want to extend your hike along The Skyline Trail, this giant loop is a 7-mile hike with a difficulty level of 4.6 on the Alltrails rating system. It is located in the Skyline Wilderness Park and is a combination of the Skyline Trail, Thatcher’s Rim Rock Trail, and Lake Marie Road Loop.
The Skyline Trail, Thatcher’s Rim Rock Trail, and Lake Marie Road Loop are a bit of a trek, but they have a number of different terrains, including winding around hills and ridges, through forests and clearings, and near several small lakes. Along the way, hikers will find plenty of scenic overlooks, historical markers, and native plants and wildlife, as well as several old vineyards.
Despite its length and difficulty, The Skyline Trail, Thatcher’s Rim Rock Trail, and Lake Marie Road Loop are lovely round-trip loops for those with experience. Whether you are looking for a challenging workout or an easy stroll through nature, the sum of its parts has something for everyone.
River to Ridge Trail
- Distance: 3.5 miles
- Difficulty: Easy
If you’re looking for a more leisurely stroll, the River to Ridge Trail is an easy hike and an enjoyable way to explore the beautiful countryside. At 3.5 miles long, it is rated as an easy trail at all skill levels, and it is a great option for all types of hikers, from novice to experienced. Along the trail, hikers will experience a variety of landscapes, from winding rivers to rock-studded ridgelines.
As it is rated as an easy trail, the entire family will be able to enjoy it. The terrain is mostly flat, although there are a couple of small hills to challenge the more experienced hiker.
Along the River to Ridge Trail, you are sure to experience beautiful sights and sounds. On the trail, you will find serene rivers and streams, lush forests, and panoramic views of the Napa Valley. You will also see an array of wildlife and plants native to the area. Birdwatchers, in particular, will appreciate the variety of birds on the trail, from ducks and geese to songbirds and hawks.
Its ease makes The River to Ridge Trail an excellent hike for families looking for a leisurely walk or older hikers not looking to prove themselves against the demands of a more challenging hike. Furthermore, the trailhead is easy to access and has plenty of parking options.
A Delicious Pairing
The Napa Valley offers more than just delicious wine-tasting and world-class restaurants; it also has an abundance of scenic hiking opportunities. From easy strolls to challenging long hauls with scenic vistas, there is plenty to explore during your stay at Chateau de Vie.
Featured Image Credit:Life Atlas Photography