Ritchey Canyon Trail and Coyote Peak is a 5.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Calistoga, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park stands as a reminder of the natural flora and fauna of the area before the vineyards arose. A visit to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park allows hikers to make a trip back in time. The park is a still-forested hill nestled among several of the famous valley's wineries. It stands as a reminder of the natural flora and fauna of the area before much of it was cleared to create vineyards. Though the trees and other plants have been largely removed from the land used as vineyards, the soils and microclimates that have drawn grape growers for over 100 years remain. The park is also teeming with plants used by Native Americans in the region, who were likely the first people to use the Valley's bounties to make intoxicating concoctions. Most of the park is rugged, with elevations ranging from 300 to 2,000 feet. You will notice a pattern in the vegetation: the forests are on the north-facing slopes and in canyons, while south-facing slopes tend to be brushy; redwoods grow only near creeks or springs. Plant life hides much of the park's geology, which is principally volcanic, but you can see a reminder of the area's violent geologic past in the volcanic ash cliffs of upper Ritchey Canyon. The park is home to raccoons, gray squirrels, deer, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes to name a few, but they are sometimes difficult to spot because of their nocturnal habits and the heavy forest cover. Several species of birds can be easily detected though, including the six kinds of woodpecker that inhabit the park. The spectacular crow-sized pileated woodpecker is one of them. On a more rare occasion a spotted owl can be found, perched high in a redwood tree. Located by the entrance to the park is the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center and entrance station are open intermittently when staffing is available. Brochures (hiking maps) are also available by mail. Next to the park's visitor center is the Native American Garden which displays some of the plants important to the first people of this area. Today, many of the same plants are used by the Wappo people.
Beautiful trail, definitely worth the time. Not a lot of high elevation views. Trail is between easy and moderate.
I did Ritchey Canyon to Spring Trail to South Fork to Coyote Peak, which looped back to the Redwoods Trail. This was 5.35 miles and 1,924 feet of climbing (according to Runkeeper).
I came across several deer on Ritchey Trail and a rattle snake up on the rocks of Coyote Peak Trail, so keep an eye out.
Don't bother with the last ascent up to Coyote Peak. It's gnarly and you really cannot see anything because of the trees! The best view is at the trail marker on the exposed rocks below the final ascent. I did not go up to the Homestead site.
I had no trouble following the trail markers to create my own loop.
Quiet setting for a mild hike.
Good trail with some small creek crossings, redwood trees, slight elevation change, some nice open paths, brushy areas, areas with poisen oak, wear good shoes as there are a few areas where you may slip if you dont have good traction.
Nice scenery, creek was up. Lots of Redwoods. Under the canopy the whole time, no views.
Great flora and feel.
A nice shady trail. Too overgrown to see any scenery into Napa valley, but a very pleasant walk in the woods.
Good hike and good distance. The scenery was gorgeous!
Ronald Eric M.
First, it must be understood that despite the official park description, there are no vista views of the Napa Valley or vineyards from any part of this park. (Coyote Peak might have had them once, but now high thickets block all views). Most of these trails are easy, some are even roads. The only difficulty is the elevation rise. Walking shoes would suffice for all except the Upper Ritchey and the Coyote trails. Really, the only attraction of this hike is being alone among tall redwoods.
Most of the trails are in second-growth redwoods, and the stumps indicate that the present trees are now the size of those logged over a century ago. On this Thursday August 2nd morning in 2012, I saw no-one else on the trails until finishing with the descent from Coyote Peak after noon.
The Upper Ritchey Canyon trail ended after crossing at a former bridge; in a clearing apparently the site of a former home (no traces remain), an enameled pot sits on a flat-faced stone which apparently at one time had a rectangular plaque. After searching up to 100 yards in several directions, I could find no proper track onward; and when I found 15-foot trees growing in the very middle of what appeared to have been a track, I concluded there was no sanctioned way onward. It was approximately 3.2 miles from the parking lot to here, and that seems to coincide with reports of the length of the entire hike. Therefore, I concluded that the pot signified the end of the trail.
The GPS track I have uploaded is missing the first portion of the hike.
I did the full loop including the Redwood and the Coyote Peak trail. Directions to trailhead: Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is located on the side of Highway 29 in the Napa Valley, ﬁve miles north of St. Helena, four miles south of Calistoga. Leave your car by the visitor center or at the horse trailer parking area just past the campground road turnoff where the trail begins. The trail, which travels west beneath big leaf maple, madrone and oaks soon crosses a paved road and begins paralleling the road to the campground, as well as Ritchey Creek. Beneath the tall Douglas ﬁr and redwoods grows a tangle of ferns, bay laurel and wild grape. After 0.5 mile, you'll pass a trail on your right leading to the campground. A mile out, the forest thins and you intersect Coyote Peak Trail on your left. Recently re-worked and re-routed Coyote Peak Trail climbs high and dry terrain and offers good views of Upper Ritchey Canyon, plus glimpses of the wine country and mighty Mt. Saint Helena. As the path steepens, you'll pass more big redwoods and ﬁr. About 1.5 miles along, you cross Ritchey Creek (usually an easy crossing except when rains swell the creek). This is a good turnaround point for the leg-weary or families with small children. The trail continues up-canyon, crossing Ritchey Creek again and linking up with Upper Ritchey Canyon Trail. After passing a junction with Spring Trail, you climb above the forest into a brushy environment of manzanita and scrub oak, then dip back into the redwoods. Three miles from the trailhead, your path forks. The main trail angles left, then climbs south to the park boundary. A better bet is the right fork, which leads over an old bridge to an 1885 homestead site, where plum and apple trees grow in a picnic-perfect clearing. Return the same way, or take a slightly longer route back via either Spring Trail or Coyote Peak Trail.
Bothe Napa State Park is a hidden gem in the middle of Napa Valley. There are a few trails and different combinations to choose from. The Ritchey Canyon Trail runs parallel along the Ritchey Creek. There are several areas where redwood trees grow. The first mile is pretty even and then the next 2 1/2 miles are a steep climb. We went up to the end of the trail to Traverso Homestead which was pretty anti-climatic and could probably be skipped all together. We will definitely go back to the park to hit the Coyote Peak trail.