Berryessa Peak Trail is a 14.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Napa, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from January until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

14.7 miles
3,507 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


over grown


Seven miles up, seven miles down, a strenuous, 8-hour adventure above the north shore of Lake Berryessa. The trail is mostly on the Napa County side of the peak, with a brief dip into Yolo County on the approach to the summit. Beautiful, mostly single-track hike through chaparral to a 3-part summit with views of Diablo, Tam, the Mayacamas, St. Helena, Cobb, Konocti, the Mendocino National Forest's Goat Mountain and Snow Mountain, Lassen, Sutter Buttes, Sierra Buttes, downtown Sacramento, and Lake Berryessa. When especially clear, views of Shasta and the Sierra Nevada are possible. Not suitable for dogs, horses, bikes. Expect a little mud. Spring wildflowers are mediocre. The winds get severe when a front comes through, so watch the weather before you go. It is important to stay on the trail for the whole hike in order not to trespass on private hunting lands. In the chaparral, after a brief but rather steep ascent, the trail crosses a barbed-wire fence.

1 month ago

Went here on 12/15/18. A wildfire, specifically County Fire burned this area earlier in July this year. I visited here in February and differences were astonishing. Charred shrubs and trees were everywhere. It was sad site to see. The damages were more obvious once you pass the fence. The steps to go over the fence was gone. When the ground is wet, the trail gets extremely slippery - I slid backward near the fence for about 3-4 ft, couldn't stop until I put down my knees and hands on the ground. My pants and shoes were caked with mud. There were 4 downed trees blocking the trail on the hillside between the fence and the canyon. The first two were the most difficult to go around. There were some areas avoided the fire damage after the canyon. Around the summit, you see more fire damage. The surrounding sites from the fire road were black. The view of the lake was still very beautiful and worth getting up there but I would not go back again any time soon. I was very wary going through the hillside trail - the narrow trail looked even sketchier without any vegetation to hold the ground. I am wondering if the trail survive the winter.

6 months ago

If you are looking for a challenge, this trail might be for you. It has all the ticks you could want, no source of water, decent shade in the first 3.5mi, then no shade. i decided to do this hike on a cloudless day, with 97-100° temps, and 3.5 liters of fluid....bad idea, lesson learned. i ran out of water on the way down, about 4 miles from my truck....that was a very long 4 miles. Cramped up pretty good when i finally made it to my truck. Trying to change clothes and look for ticks with cramped legs sucks!!! I had gatorade and water in my truck, thank God. I am happy to say i completed this hike, so i can scratch it off the list.

7 months ago

This was a very, very, bad idea.

I thought it was going well for the first mile or so, pretty boring, but still with the hope that it would improve as it went on. Well holy shit was I wrong; almost immediately into the first mile and a half I remember the advice that a reviewer gave about the ticks, only to look down at my shirt to my complete and utter shock, not one, not two, but four of the vampiric little creatures climbing up my shirt. I walked a couple hundred more feet thinking that I had just gone through a bad patch, boy was I wrong.

Now, I live nearly two hours away and lordy me can I tell you that having the idea of these little blood sucking creatures latched onto me did not make it any shorter.At this point I'm just about to call this trail a bad omen, considering that my car was drenched in fire retardent on the way down the switchbacks and that I nearly had several head on's through the mountainous roads. I'm scared of what disastrous things this innocent looking trail can bring onto others.

I would only recommend this trail if you think that nearly dying of blood loss on the way home is enjoyable.

edit: I guess one of the upsides to the County Fire is that all of the damned ticks in the area have burned. Too bad the trail seems to have been involved in the burn though, I would have liked to venture during the Spring season when the ticks have calmed themselves.

7 months ago

It was SO DIFFICULT. My boyfriend and I hiked this with some friends who have hiked it once before. I was way too ambitious with this hike lol, considering I’ve never been in a major hiking trip before. I think it took us a total of 10 hours (plus the breaks and the 30 mins we spent at the top). Our friends came home with a lot of ticks but my boyfriend and I were tick-free. I think the reason for that is because we wore leggings rather than loose fitting pants. Also, there were a lot of pointy plants that grew towards the path and you run into a lot of them. I have scratches on my legs but my arms were saved since we wore long sleeves. Luckily, it wasn’t very hot because there was a lot of clouds. It even sprinkled at the top. However, we did run out of water, so bring a lot.

I’m happy to have completed the hike but it was pretty difficult, I don’t think I’d do it again.

Good luck to the rest of you, happy hiking!

8 months ago

I visited the first week of May (2018). The trail was completely overgrown and (I didn’t realize until it was too late) totally infested with ticks. I have picked probably more than 50 off of my dog, and am still finding more. I had to puck most of them off in the middle of the street because even the grass by the side of the road was crawling with them. He is up to date on his tick meds, but these monsters are not dying once they bite him. I’ve also found half a dozen on myself. I’m afraid to go in my car because I know I must have missed some. Visiting this trail was a very, very bad idea.

9 months ago

Beautiful trail. Need to start very early because the views are against the sunlight when you get to the top, making the lake ordinary as supposed on the west side of the lake, the lake views are exceptional, like in heaven. Because of this, I gave 4 Star. The non-lake views are great though.

Actual hiking time 8 hrs 20 Min. But it took us 9 hrs and 15 mins to finish the whole trail because of extra time to enjoy the view, wild flower and to take short breaks for food and drink.

On one part of the trail, a lot of California Poppy and some other wild flower are blooming ( mid April).

Definitely need to download the map before you go because you would get lost, like other reviewer said, in rocky area where the trail is not obvious. Easy to get back in Trail with navigation in the app.

Trekking poles are recommended because 2-3 area is very steep, and some area is sandy slippery and you are on the edge of the slop. Most area are slow ascent and decent making the trail easier to climb.

Having seen review with ticks, I used bug spray on shoes and lower legs, and had no problem at all.

Bring at least 3 L water and add electrolytes powder. (Costco sales it). Even at low 70 degree F temperature, I drank more than 3 L. Half of the trail has no tree, no shade. Not recommended in hot day.

The trail is very quiet. We did not see any another people. Thanks to the other review, we looked for and parked at the sign of 20 mile mark. Maximum 4 cars could park there. We felt a bit uneasy and unsafe leaving our car there. But no problem with our car when we came down at Sunset time.

9 months ago

Challenging yet worth every bit of it. Trail is not too overgrown. still in good shape, only few parts of it are slightly water-damaged. Overall all great hike, a true workout. Make sure to bring at least 3L water with you on a hot day :)

11 months ago

Luved this hike even though i managed to do half of it due to time constraints, challenging but the views are amazing. I will definitely do the entire hike next time.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Man oh man was I unprepared for this hike! This is a strenuous hike, up and down with little to no coverage. Very little water sources so I would decide against a life straw and bring all of your water, though to bring for back up is always good. There are multiple long description of this hike that are great and really accurate so I will just say a few things I think they were missing.

If doing this hike again I could stop at the first main view which was about 11-12 miles in. It's a gorgeous view of the entire valley right after you descend up a lot of rocks. Trust me when I say you will know it when you see it. You are supposed to keep going and the end is actually when you reach the top of the two metal towers. The reason I would stop at the first view is the trail gets ugly from there and honestly kind of ruined the beauty of everything for me. The trail dumps you onto a gravel road which you follow for about 2 miles until you reach the top of the mountain, again where the metal towers are. After looking at pictures from both vantage points, there is no difference in views the hike is a lot more enjoyable if you don't witness the electric boxes, metal towers and civilization crap.

Also, we had two dogs with us. If your dog is not a seasoned trail dog PLEASE for the love of all humanity, do NOT do the entire trail or do not take your dog. Our dogs were both limpy, covered in ticks and were completely and utterly pushed passed their limit, but there was not much we could do. Literally had to carry a 60 lb dog for 2 miles downhill just to give her a break. The 2 creeks definitely gave her life once we reached them, but they are far from the "peak". The ticks I had to deal with for up to 2 weeks later, they are gross and disgusting. We did not find any on them until the sun started to go down so I would suggest to get there early and leave early. With how many complications we had on trail though it was impossible for us the finish the trail before sundown which is why we got caught in peak tick-time.

Still giving it a 4 star review though because it was a great hike, definitely overgrown, fantastic views, secluded and great challenge!

trail running
Sunday, May 28, 2017

This trail is really overgrown!! But still doable totally. I ran in my shorts and the whole time i was thinking of ticks! I run with my dog so i kept on checking on him but didn't really start getting them until the way down.

The fist 3 miles are somewhat easy but then comes the really steep part! After mile three is steep and high!! Around mile 5 there is a 1/4 mile of downhills until you connect with the fire road. From there is steep all the way to the end of this map but you can probably keep on going if you wanted to.

On way down having really good traction shoes is the key!! You're still gonna fall a couple times if you are trail running. There is a good climb on way back but after that steep climb is all downhill till you get back to the car.

I would totally do this trail again! Check yourself of ticks!! On way down, about 2 miles from car by the small creeks there was sooo many ticks!! Be ware they were crawling all over my shoes like ants! Caught a couple trying to crawl up my legs and flicked them off.

Ware shoe gators for the tall grasses. 14.87 miles @ 3 hrs 19 minutes 22 seconds


Sunday, May 14, 2017

This trail was beautiful! I definitely recommend going on a cool day because it really gets hot and there is a lot of sun exposure. It was in the 60s when we went and was perfect.

The actual trail is now really over grown. The first few miles you are basically walking through the tall grass and in other parts of the trail you are fighting through trees and branches. The trailhead is also hard to spot from the road so you really have to look for it but there is a sign off the road that says Berryessa Peak Trail.

It is a tough one - you go up a steep slope, back down, then up again to the peak. The uphills are steep but at least it levels out in between and is not just uphill the entire time.

It is very secluded - I did not see another person there the entire time. It would probably be best not to go alone on this one.

Overall I recommend because it's beautiful and really challenging!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

This trail was awesome! right when you start make sure you go to the road on the left. The first time we went right and then tried to find our way back to the main trail when we realized we went the wrong way. not a good start. went again last weekend and made it all the way. not going to lie it kicked our ass but it was beautiful. I wouldn't recommend it if it's above 85 degrees. easy to dehydrate. all in all I recommend this trail.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Make no mistake this trail is a butt-kicker. You're going to be hiking up and down two separate peaks to get to the summit and most times you're going straight up the slope without cross-backs. This trail is not subtle about its vertical gains. The trial runs the gamut from being wide and flat to extremely narrow, rocky, and steep and goes through two different environments the first being a grassy rolling hillside area with multiple stream crossings in the winter and the second being more of a dessert climate with tons of rocks to navigate. You're definitely gunna have to do some scrambling up and over rocks and you definitely need to keep your eyes on the trail and watch your step. However, the pay off is extraordinary. The views on the mountains are incredible even if you don't take the trail all the way to the end. Those of you who go all the way to the peak though will be treated to stunning 360 degree views spanning almost all of Lake Berryessa on one side and the Sacramento Valley on the other. Which is great since the peak is only the halfway point and you'll need to ride that visual high 7.2 miles back the way you came to get out.

Keep in mind that this trail is also very secluded and low traffic. I chose to practice some backpacking while I was here and spent about 24hrs in the trail zone and didn't encounter a single other person the entire time. So if you're afraid of silly things like dying alone in a wilderness accident, its probably best to bring a buddy.

All in all this trial is great if you want a challenging hike, with crazy low traffic, and world-class views. If not, I guess you could see what's on TV?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Great trail but it is not in the Cedar Roughs Wilderness. The wilderness is on the other (west) side of the lake and there are no trails there.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Loved this trail will be back soon

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Lovely hike not well maintained passed property fence. I went mid summer... Not a good time to go if you want to avoid heat but still a very lovely view.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

This hike is for those of us that enjoy a good challenge, peaceful surroundings, and a low body count.

Be ready to climb. Bring plenty of water and protein. Be ok with taking pit stops.

Monday, February 15, 2016

In Feb. it was a hot day , around 80 degrees. There is not much shade, i would hate to do this trail in summer. There was nothing to see, but when you get up on top the view is nice. Also i had no idea where i was and how much longer to keep on going. There are couple signs ( BPT) !!! Ok... BPT what? 5 miles left? 10 miles... what? At some point there was a barbwire fence and said private property, i assume you can stay on the trail, but i gave up. was very steep and felt like rock climbing :) i did enjoy the view of the lake

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Yes, a bit over 7 miles to the peak, but it felt like a mile more to me. Distance is one thing... they there are the elements and the level of maintenance of the trail.

The elements: I went on a hot (95) August day and, the trail being mostly exposed and the sun beating down on me, I suffered a mild case of heat exhaustion at the 11 miles mark.There are shaded spots here and there under the trees' canopy and I put these to good use to bring my body temperature down and rest a bit.

The condition of the trail: this is not a national park or state park maintained trail. As others have pointed out, it is mostly a hunting trail; the only parties I encountered on my 10 hours that day were 3 parties of hunters -- not a single hiker. It is a bit of a blessing that the private land owners allowed an easement for the trail to go through, and for volunteers to do the hard work to cut that trail to the peak. So, you should expect to have to perform some level of "technical hiking" (say, watch were you put your feet, some scrambling, some sharing the trail with encroaching vegetation... hiking poles do help on some steep sections).

The trail offers a series of somewhat very contrasted sections to get to the peak.
Section 1: the first 1.6 miles are following (and crossing a couple times) a creek on an overgrown dirt road. Not many challenges there (unless you have to ford the creek during a heavy rainy season I guess). This section ends at a sharp right turn with a 4x4 post bearing the sign "BPT" (these will follow you for the first half of the trail or so.
Section 2: the next 1.5 mile continues first on the dirt road, ascending the hill side. All would be well and good if it wasn't for the fact that the dirt road is ripe with countless small crevices (the result of the very long California drought?) that are apparently catnip for my hiking poles. I spend half he time walking and the other half prying my pole out of the crevices and sinking ground. Happy when the crevices disappeared, I face the last third of that section with less than full glee: he dirt road makes way for a trail that goes straight up the hillside without even the pretense of a switch back. In a couple places I just starting sliding back down (thanks poles from stopping my slide back) due to how steep the trail was and the loose/fine dirt that covered it. This section ends at the private land easement and a wooden staircase that allows you to "step" over the barbwire fence.
Section 3: After the steep climb at the end of section 3, I was looking for a more level journey southward as the trail edges its way about 300 feet below the ridgeline. While the grade is much gentler, the surface of the trail is quite degraded. The slope of the hill is quite steep and the half of the trail on the downside has mostly been washed away or is rather unstable. The first half of section 3 (about 3/4 mile) gently ascends up and offers sweeping views to the West and the South. A couple fallen trees have forced hunters and hikers to blaze a short bypass around their trunk. The second half of section 3 (another 3/4 mile) now descends quit a bit, hugging the hillside at the base of an escarpment and is a bit more rocky than the first. The last 0.1 mile steeply descends (a few wooden steps help) to cross what must be a small stream in the wetter part of the year (Green Canyon). On this sweltering summer day, the creek-bed was a good spot for a short break in the shade.
Section 4: Past the shaded creek-bed, the trail enters section 4 (again 1.5 miles) that ascend out of the south side of the creek to cross another (small/not-shaded) creek-bed about .2 miles later). The trail then goes through a couple switchbacks to reach the ridgeline that it follows for the next 1 mile. There are many viewpoints to enjoy the panoramas all around. The trail alternates short nice dirt paths and walks over rock slabs and small boulders. There are many flat and almost horizontal slabs to sit on for a minute or two before forging ahead to the lat section.

Section 5: A bit after the 6 miles mark, the trail finally connects with the gravel road that that serves the communication equipment at Berryessa Peak. That last mile stretch is less scenic but quite welcome as it does not require constant attention to footing and direction. The peak itself is home to a couple telecommunication towers and associated buildings. However, it is worth sitting at the Western edge of the ridge and take in the amazing views over the lake and (probably) way beyond. Weather was a bit hazy on my visit to the peak and I really could not see distinctly very far... but others have noted how far we can see on a clear day.

Bottom line, this was not a walk in the park (ha! ha!) but it definitely would deserve a repeat on a cleared and cooler day if my old legs don't complain too much.

A few useful links:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's is really breath taking. Note a few things. This is a hunting trail. Also the first 3 or 4 miles in along the 4x4 trail is very easy and relaxed hiking. When it ends it is a bit more moderate in difficulty. Recommend long pants or gators of some sort as at the start you'll be torn up. It clears up about 2 miles in. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Trail is well marked, but so lightly used as to be overgrown after the halfway point. There appeared to be lots of previous water flow throughout the trail, but all of it was completely dried out. Very pretty overall, and great view of Berryessa from the top. This year the wild flowers are abundant, and intensely colored.

8 months ago

9 months ago

10 months ago

11 months ago

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sunday, May 01, 2016

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