Hike Mt. St. Helena - Robert Louis Stevenson State Park

PLEASE READ BEFORE ATTENDING:

Plan on a 3.5 to 4 hour casually paced hike up and back, 10 miles, 1,300 ft elevation gain.  There is no water or restroom facilities in the park.  

PLAN ON ARRIVING at THE TRAIL HEAD AT 9:00am.  We will depart for the hike at 9:15am.  If you are delayed, please message on this site...but not a guarantee that we can wait.  It will get very hot as the day goes by. 

Bring a snack and at least a 48 oz of water or more....if you dont have enough water/hydration drinks you will not be able to hike with us. Non-negotiable. 

Consider wearing sunscreen, wear hiking boots, bring poles if you have them. 

Carpools are recommended. It takes about 1 hr. to reach to the trailhead from Walnut Creek...a tad longer for the return to WC.  

This is an all day outing, especially if you plan to stay in St. Helena for a meal afterwards. There is no guaranteed return time. Make your plans accordingly. 

There is an option to head to Rombauer Winery which is on the way back along the Silverado Trail, for a picnic lunch.  Rombauer is a beautiful winery with gorgeous multi tiered gardens and sculptures.  There are picnic tables but they may require us to buy some wine for the use of a picnic table.  Please indicate in your RSVP if you definitely plan to stop at Rombauer's after the hike.   Its a very nice winery, so you may want to consider a change of attire and shoes....



Stevenson Memorial Trail 

Overview: The summit of Mt. Saint Helena is 10 miles round trip with 1,300-foot elevation gain

You can see the imposing mountain towering above the wineries. Mt. Saint Helena is a landmark, a wild backdrop behind the neat cultivated vineyards of Napa Valley. 

The best view of the wine country is from the top of 4,343-foot Mt. Saint Helena, reached by a five mile trail that winds through stands of knobcone pine to deliver summit panoramas of not only Napa Valley but the High Sierra and San Francisco Bay as well. 

Most of the summit and broad shoulders of Mt. Saint Helena are protected by Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Stevenson, best remembered for his imaginative novels, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Treasure Island, honeymooned in a cabin tucked in one of Mt. Saint Helena’s ravines in the summer of 1880. 

Stevenson Memorial Trail is particularly enjoyable for the first interesting mile as it winds through the forest to the memorial. The next four miles of trail—a well-graded fire road leading to the summit—are frankly a bit monotonous; however, the grand vistas, becoming better and better as you climb, more than compensate. 

Directions to trailhead: From downtown Calistoga, at the junction of Highways 128 and 29, head north on the latter road. Highway 29 ascends 8.2 miles to a summit, where you’ll fnd parking at turnouts on both sides of the highway for Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. The trail departs from the west side of the highway. Hint: The not-very-well-signed state park is easy to miss. If you find yourself rapidly descending on Highway 29, you overshot the summit and the state park. Carefully turn around and return to the summit. 

The hike: Just above the parking lot is a picnic area. During Stevenson’s day, a stage stop and the Toll House Hotel were located here. The Stevensons came down the hill from their honeymoon cabin to buy provisions.

Signed Stevenson Memorial Trail switchbacks up a shady slope forested with oak, madrone, bay and Douglas fir. A pleasant mile’s walk brings you face-to-face with the granite Stevenson memorial, itself something of a historical curiosity, having been erected by “The Club Women of Napa County” in 1911. 

To continue to the peak, scramble up a badly eroded hundred-yard-long stretch of trail to the fire road and turn left. The road soon brings you to a hairpin turn and the first grand view en route. You can admire part of the Napa Valley and surrounding ridges, San Francisco high-rises, as well as two distinct and aptly named nearby peaks: Turk’s Head to the west and Red Hill to the south. 

The road continues climbing moderately, but doggedly, up the mountain. Wind-battered, but unbowed, knobcone pine dot the middle slopes of Mt. Saint Helena. Three miles from the trailhead, you’ll pass under some power lines, and another half mile’s travel brings you to a junction with a spur trail leading 0.4 mile to Mt. Saint Helena’s South Peak. 

Half-a mile from the summit, the road passes through a forest of sugar pine and Douglas fir, then begins the final climb to the peak. Various transmitters, communication facilities and a fire lookout clutter the summit, but don’t block the view. Vistas include the Sonoma County coast to the west, Santa Rosa due south, San Francisco and the Bay to the southwest, the High Sierra north of Yosemite to the east. On the clearest of days, you might be able to glimpse Mt. Shasta, nearly 200 miles to the northeast. 

Optional:  Lunch and or wine tasting in St. Helena afterwards

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  • Sarah

    Thanks to all for sharing the photos - mine were similar so I didn't post. Was very nice to meet all if you - had a good time. Thank you Paul for driving and Judy for sharing your wine club with us!!!!

    3 · September 16, 2013

  • Laurie M.

    The delicious snacks and wine at Rombauer with such a fun group was the perfect way to follow up a great hike! It was nice to have an early birthday celebration for Paul and Judy. Thanks Judy for everything and for your Rombauer VIP status!

    2 · September 16, 2013

  • Chris

    The day started out a little hectic and later than planned. The sun/heat was relentless, hiking group was accomodating, friendly and great company. It was all good as it ended with snacks and nice refreshing libations at the winery!
    Thanks Judy and all those that attended.

    September 15, 2013

  • Jujubees

    Fun fun fun..but very hard hike in the relentless sun

    September 15, 2013

  • Petr

    Great pictures, Jeru! I wish I could be there too. What's the deal with the Matisse cow?

    September 14, 2013

  • Jeru H.

    Good times!

    1 · September 14, 2013

  • Jujubees

    Had a great time...kick butt hike followed by a wonderful time at Rombauers ....great hiking group...thanks!!!

    September 14, 2013

  • Paul

    Great time .
    Thanks :)

    1 · September 14, 2013

  • Sarah

    For anyone still meeting us message the site and well update you. We are currently in Rutherford and about 25 min from Stevenson. Park.

    September 14, 2013

  • Laurie M.

    Hi, I'm with Jeru and we just passed St Helena. We used the link from the Meetup not realizing that it's further. We estimated based on the link. Saw Petr's comment on our drive.

    1 · September 14, 2013

  • Jujubees

    We arre in napa and almost there

    September 14, 2013

  • Paul

    Ok 730

    September 14, 2013

  • Sarah

    Hi guys, can't tell if there's room or not, but I will meet up with you at McDonald's at 7:30. If car is full, will just drive myself and follow you.

    September 13, 2013

  • Petr

    Sorry guys, my shoulder is still bothering me, so it looks like no hike for me... :(

    BTW, I think that the posted address (3801 Saint Helena Hwy) and the map link are both incorrect, the trailhead is some 14 miles further up North, beyond Calistoga not before it. I hope that you guys find each other tomorrow, and good luck with the hike! Take photos! :)

    September 13, 2013

  • Chris

    I will ride with Paul, will b at Mc Donalds at 7:30 am.

    September 13, 2013

  • Paul

    Me and Judy r riding together .
    Have room for 2 . Get back tonight or see u there .

    September 13, 2013

  • Paul

    No one respond back to me

    September 13, 2013

  • Paul

    Am driving alone and going by Jill to go to your house .
    She bring a friend and there driving together .

    September 13, 2013

  • Paul

    Am in Martinez off Morello and will be driving . Have room for two .

    September 13, 2013

    • Jujubees

      Does this mean that you are meeting in Martinez and not at my house? Its cool...I just need to know who I am waiting for or If I can just go.

      September 13, 2013

  • Chris

    I am willing to meet at Mc Donald's in Martinez. I will be there at 7:30. Thanks Paul.

    September 13, 2013

  • Katie S.

    I'm actually not going to make it. Sorry to miss it!

    September 13, 2013

  • Paul

    Am staying for the wine after . So u know .

    September 13, 2013

  • Paul

    At the McDonald's off morello and hwy 4 at 730
    If u come . I have room for one more .

    September 13, 2013

  • Ross

    WHERE ARE WE MEETING FOR THE CAR POOL?

    September 13, 2013

  • Dale E.

    Hi guys, allergies have kicked up so I need to miss this one. Have fun!

    September 13, 2013

  • Cyd

    So sorry to miss this hike--sounds wonderful.

    September 13, 2013

  • Sarah

    Since we have to head north on 680, the Martinez park and ride is pretty convenient. I'm willing to meet up there at 7:30-7:40 to carpool or drive. I'm also interested in lunch/winery after.

    September 10, 2013

  • Chris

    There is also a park and ride lot in Martinez right off Hywy 4. This is a good location for a carpool to coordinate. Any body interested?

    September 9, 2013

  • Jujubees

    Walnut Creek or Phill Bart Stations are great locations to coordinate a car pool meet up spot.

    September 9, 2013

  • Peter Z.

    I'd like to hike Mt. St. Helena. But I have other obligations on Sept 14.

    September 8, 2013

  • Chris

    Sounds like a great hike! I live in Martinez and would like to carpool and do the winery/meal afterwards, since I am going the distance. I am willing to drive and or ride along.

    September 8, 2013

  • Barbara

    Id like to carpool also.

    August 14, 2013

  • Sarah

    I'd be interested in going if others are interested in car pooling. I am available to drive. Thanks!

    August 14, 2013

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