Mount Saint Helena Trail is a 9.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Calistoga, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
Take in awesome views on a hike to the summit of the highest peak in the California Wine Country. You might forget you came for the wine when you gaze upon the stunning panorama at the 4,342 summit of Mount St. Helena in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. The peak north of Calistoga looms large above the rolling hills of Napa and Sonoma counties in the Northern California Wine Country. The five-mile hike to the summit has over 2,000 feet of elevation gain, so be ready for a workout. The hike starts on Stevenson Memorial Trail, climbing just under a mile and passing through the area where the famed author Robert Louis Stevenson ("Kidnapped," "Treasure Island) honeymooned with his new bride in 1880. Next in line is the Mount St. Helena Trail, an old logging road that climbs to the summit over about four miles. Note your turn-off point or you might miss it on the way back. While the wide dirt road to the summit lacks the appeal of a single-track trail, the eye-popping views of the terrain below are a welcome trade-off. Best time to go: Clear winter days will offer the clearest views, especially a day or two after a storm goes through. Spring and fall should be gorgeous, but summer will probably be too hot and the Wine Country too crowded.
The views are incredible. It is a long grinding walk, although not difficult. Tends to be very sunny and hot. Parking can be a challenge. Get there early.
Not challenging but requires fitness for long gradual uphill walk. Magnificent views all the way up and the top is amazing. All the way to San Francisco Bay on a clear day.
While the first mile or so is dirt trail hiking, the rest is up a fire road. So while the views are spectacular, the immediate surroundings are pretty bleak.
It was nice! When we got to the top it was very cold my hands were freezing. The view it's beautiful
Nice, moderate level hike. I did it in fog/rain so the views were nonexistent, but I can imagine how great it is in nicer weather. I'll revise my rating if/when I do it again. The meh part for me was the trail. I'd rather walk up dirt paths than gravel roads. Kind of takes away from the illusion that I'm in nature.
It was a good hike. I would give it 3.5 stars. Amazing view at the top. Like other reviews said, it is mostly in the sun so I wouldn't do it on a very hot day.
Beautiful view at the top!
While your out exploring wine country be sure to check out his mountaintop trail dedicated to writer Robert Louis Stevenson. Give yourself plenty of time, its over 9 miles round trip and take generous amounts of liquids, no water features save a very small spring near the bottom.The trail is moderate with some strenuous
areas. Interesting combination of volcanic and foothill type terrain.
Great hike with incredible views. Recommend a clear winter day for the best viewing. Little to no shade, so summer hikes are pretty brutal.
Great little hike. Easy incline and beautiful views from the top. Most of the trail is on a fire road with a slight incline. Along the way there were also options to climb more steeply.
In the winter, I'd recommend starting this one early so you can avoid a return in the shade of the south peak.
What a workout ! However ... the entire trail is in the sun with no shade! Cars actually drove pass me. I assume the go to the top for hand gliding. view is beautiful...
I have ran or jogged this trail some 300 times. first time I was hurting and as I came up to the first switchback, there was a herd of Doberman pitchers being walked by a lady. scaired, yes I was. as I came closer a sigh of relief, goats, there goats! I was going to live. nice fire road, long and sometimes hot with goats. I wouldn't call it difficult just long.
not too steep.... great long distance gradual elevation. great hike.
Took whole day. Very hot, little shade. Went up to wrong mountain top at first then had to backtrack back down. Saw arrow in road too late. Saw it on our way back down. Beautiful and worth it though. First real hike ever.
I thought this trail was pretty forgettable, honestly. 90% of it follows a dirt road (cars pass sometimes). It has consistent elevation gain so I would say it's challenging, kind of similar to Mission Peak. The 10 miles feels short. I imagine the views sweeten the deal on a nice day. The day we hiked it was hazy.
The hike is worth it for the views alone. For the first third of the trail, hiking is at a moderate incline under a large canopied forest. As you work your way up to the breaking tree line, the next two thirds of the hike is even easier but a little more redundant. (Pay close attention where the trail meets the road as there are very few markers at this point and you will need to know this on the way back) This fire road and its surrounding dry chaparral rarely lend any shade breaks for the remainder of the hike. Bring plenty of water and a good shade hat. Every switchback offers remarkable views that get better and better as you progress. Near the top at the saddle where the ridge finally flattens out, you have the option to go left up to the south peak or continue north. Winds can pick up violently here too so tie down your hat! The views most come for are further up the road. Cross the saddle ridge and keep moving up the mountain to the last north peak. Almost there! At the last fork in the road there is a small sign that points left towards a few tall trees that dot the road. Follow that sign, pass through the grove and continue up the road. The incline grows slightly steeper here so take notice of your footing. When you reach the top, enjoy.
- A few other things: The parking lot can get crowded quickly so show up early. Park closes at sunset. Keep the dogs at home. The overall hike is about 10 miles round trip. About 3 hours up and 2.5 hours down average pace. Mount St. Helena North Peak is at 4,339 Feet.
We have done this hike 2 times. Fantastic views from the top. Moderate incline- primary trail is a fire road to the summit.
If you want a great view of the Napa Valley, this is the place to get them. You don't have to hike very far for some great scenery. Keep going, and you can get to the peak of Mt. Saint Helena and have probably the best view of the valley possible in the area. I have seen a rattlesnake here once, so be aware while hiking.