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Mt St Helena – a hike to the top of the wine country

Peak Summited2021 Mount Saint Helena
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadRobert Louis Stevenson trailhead
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a group
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

This is the farthest one from where we live, but the drive was pleasant on a Saturday morning through the Golden Gate Bridge and some coastal towns like Sausalito before going up the mountains in the wine country near Calistoga. We reached there close to 11:00am and the small parking lot was full but we managed to find roadside parking. After the long drive, I was disappointed to see there were no restrooms or even a port-a-potty. So if you are going there, it may be good to plan on doing a restroom stop before reaching the trailhead.

The hike started out on a beautiful stretch of switchbacks that is thickly wooded and it wasn't crowded at all. Along the way, we saw the Robert Louis Stevenson monument. In about a mile, we reached the fire lane and were soon out in the sun. From here on it was a gradual climb for the next four miles all the way up to the summit. The views of the Napa valley and beyond down below were breathtaking at the same time it was sad to see the  remnants of the recent Napa wildfires where we actually got to see how so much of vegetation got wiped out. The trail also had a perfect spot for rock climbers and we saw a few practicing their climbs. Even though it was fully exposed with so little shade all along, due to the elevation we got to enjoy the mild breeze throughout. In little more than two hours we reached the summit where we enjoyed more views and had our packed lunch before we started our climb down.

The trailhead itself is at quite an elevation of around 2000ft and so the hike to the summit at 4200ft is not that difficult. I would rate it as moderate with a gentle climb and beautiful views all around.

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