Step back into history for a day! The hike is an old mining road between the town of Calistoga and Pope Valley. It was used by freight wagons hauling quicksilver from the mines to the railroad in Calistoga. Grooves in the rockbed from the wagon wheels are visible! It is a rocky, rutted road that "rigorously" climbs from 400 to 2300 feet to the old Karl Holm Homestead in a shaded oak and bay laurel forest at first and then you come out into the open completely surrounded by rock.
Overall, it is about 9 miles roundtrip, with roughly 1,900 feet of elevation gain. Getting a decent start, we should be finished with our climb well before the real heat of the day (okay, so it is only late March). We will take time for a leisurely lunch while some of us push on for a bit of optional exploration. After lunch at the top, overlooking vistas of Napa Valley, it will be an easy trek downhill.
It is quite awkward and rugged walking when you get close to the top. Count on a workout, it's long enough and rough enough at the top that it might not be considered fun if you aren't ready work those muscles! At the homestead there are still remnants of two stone houses and a small apple orchard. This is a really intriguing trail and something that you should at least experience once...history combined with a scenic backcountry road that has great views of The Palisades and upper Napa Valley.
As always...we take our time and remember...it's about the journey NOT the destination!
A great spot for maps and info can be found at the following:
Please do not RSVP unless you are sure you can make it. We understand if emergencies come up, but lately we have had long wait lists discouraging real interested hikers from signing up, only to have as many as 1/3 of the "Yes" RSVP-ers drop out the day before the hike. This is unfair to those that would like to hike, but don't want to pin their weekend plans on hoping the wait list might clear. Please do not sign-up if you only think you might like to join the hike... Sign-up when you are making firm plans to hike. Thanks.
From Highway 29/Lincoln Ave in downtown Calistoga, drive one mile northeast on Lincoln Ave (Hwy 29) through town to Silverado Trail. The trail-head is right across the intersection, but parking is very tight there... and further, as we are generally a huge pack, please do not park right there, but rather, park in the area diagonally across the road from the trail head (between Lake St and Lincoln). Carpooling is highly recommended.
- Windsor, North and West Santa Rosa - in front of the Mollsberry's Market, Old Redwood Highway, just north of Mark West Springs Rd. Suggested leave: 8:45
- Santa Rosa SouthEast - Safeway parking lot at Calistoga Rd and Sonoma Highway - park closest to the interction, suggested leave at 8:45
- Petaluma - Lucky at the intersection of Lakeville and Caulfield Ln. Park closest to Payran St., suggested leave by 8:30
- Other - e.g. Marin, Napa, etc. Please suggest time and place in comments section, below.
- If planning on joining a carpool, mention so in the comments section so that others may be on the look out for you there (though there won't be anyone with a 'Wanderers' sign, or anything)
PLEASE if possible try to use the locations above. The more locations we have the less effective we are and it's so much more complicated. Exceptions would be if you are not close to either location.
Car pool etiquette:
Come prepared to drive, be aware that there may be no others wanting to car pool from your selected location or there might be a lot of people and everyone might want to ride. We determine who gets the rider seats by who has most recently been a driver in the past. This is worked out based by who shows up at the car pool location. We can't guarantee anyone a seat because we never know until that day who will show up. We do our best to work it out and make everyone happy but we need everyone to pitch in and help make it work!
General room of thumb...$5 one hour or less to trailhead $8 over one hour to trailhead Please insist your driver accept the money. It's to cover more than gas money...it's the wear and tear on the vehicle. We like to take care of our drivers!
- Give yourself time to find the trailhead so that you arrive prior to the scheduled time. That is the time we head out on the trail. It would be disappointing to miss having you on the hike due to late arrival. If you do arrive late and are familiar with the trail, feel free to head on up after us. Chances are you will come upon us soon!
- Wear comfortable hiking shoes that are well broken in.
- Bring plenty of water. More than one bottle PLEASE!
- Dress in layers. The hike starts off cool but rapidly warms up.
- Be Prepared... There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead!
- Bring a snack/lunch. We'll stop at the homestead at the top.
- Please always check your email the night before just in case there are any necessary adjustments.
- Bring your smile and great attitude! Once again....this is not about finishing the hike in record time...it's about enjoying ourselves and the outdoors!
See you on the trail!