Mount Saint Helena Trail

HARD 112 reviews

Mount Saint Helena Trail is a 9.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Calistoga, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
9.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1991 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

mountain biking

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

rocky

scramble

no shade

no dogs

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.

3 days ago

The trail has been closed since November 9th, still closed as of December 13th

4 months ago

Beautiful views

hiking
5 months ago

Like the majority rule, the first mile getting to the main trail is a bit challenging. There's a steady incline and decline for quite a while. Though the last bit before the peak was definitely gnarly and exhausting (don't carry anything too heavy), but the view was worth it. Spectacular!

6 months ago

The first mile is nice and shaded with big trees, ferns, and some mosses growing down low. The rest of the trail is a fire road, and very open to the sun.

I would NOT recommend this trail on a hot day. Do yourself a favor and go on a nice Fall or Winter day, or start early in the morning.

Took me about 4 hours, that included a snack at the top. The views are stunning from the summit. On clear days you can see Mount Diablo, and often some nice, snowy peaks in the distance!

hiking
6 months ago

The first mile or so is really pretty and shaded, a little poison oak. The last 3+ miles are a well maintained fire road with no shade and a steady incline. The radio towers at the top aren't pretty, but the view is spectacular. Great wine tasting close by didn't hurt.

trail running
6 months ago

Ran the Mt. St. Helena trail and fire road this morning. Beautiful views and a the fire road was perfect for a good run. Of course, lots of elevation gain, but probably a little boring for a basic hike. Despite the fact that it was a Saturday on Memorial Day weekend, I did not find the trail crowded although I finished by about 10:30 AM. If you are looking for great views, this is hard to beat. There are three "summits" and if you want to go to the top of Mt. St. Helena, you have to go all the way to the end, but all three summits have awesome views. Parking was not a problem early, but by the time I return to my car, the parking was packed. Word of warning, the people drive like maniacs up and down 29 so be careful!

hiking
6 months ago

Completed this hike on May 12th 2017. The trail up to the Robert Lewis Stevenson plaque was most delightful. Our weather was cool, and the trees and shaded areas were nice. Once we hit the dirt road and turned left, the road walking was disappointing, but the grand views all the up to the top were worth the while. My purpose was for the county highpoint of Napa which a different peak (the one with the Doppler radar) was not far off track. Then a quick walk over to the Mount St. Helena Peak, and greatly enjoyed the views. Walk back down was warm in the afternoon sun, but we walked it quickly enough.

walking
6 months ago

Tues May 23, started early went super slow due to hubbys bad knees. Later in the day would make it harder due to sun.. Wouldnt call it hard really, if it was all like the first mile I would, but it's fairly easy for an uphill hike due to switchbacks. Stopped before summit as hubby had enough.. down was way quicker..Awesome views. Flowers butterflies lizards birds. Only saw a few groups of people.

start early! male sure you leave no valuables in your locked car!!! awesome hike with rewarding views. *** climbers, please be careful- rescues can be daunting here... saw a fallen climber yesterday at Bubble. he was eventually airlifted out but it was quite an ordeal... hope he makes it.

hiking
7 months ago

Good views but as other reviews have said, not the most interesting hike after the first mile since it's just a fire road. Took me about 3 hours to get up to the summit in 90 degree weather.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful sites in the way up, not too many people, and nice rocky area at the top to enjoy the view!

hiking
7 months ago

I don't know that I'd call this one hard... its difficult in that there is little protection from the sun, but I would not classify this one as hard. Lassen - that one's hard. Four Mile Trail in Yosemite - hard. This one is just an uphill grade that goes forever. Did it with the kiddos today - great views clear out to Mt. Diablo, Pyramid, and Lassen. The trail lacks in excitement (it is, afterall, a fire road), but the views at the top are great.

hiking
7 months ago

Great opportunity to wander around different spaces in the area - came upon an old cemetary and a variety of native flora and fauna. The slog up the fire road at the end is best done in the early hours, catch a great view over the Santa Rosa Valley and sometimes beyond if the sky is clear. Hiking back down, wander off into shady glens... was there late 70s.

hiking
8 months ago

Most of the trail after a mile or so was fire road. I enjoyed the view from the top but not much for the trail itself.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike! Lots of loose rock that made things a bit tricky on the way down. Will do again soon!

hiking
9 months ago

perfect day hike with our group of scouts and parents added a few loops to create 13.3 loop, fantastic views super chilly at the top.

hiking
9 months ago

Moderate hike in my opinion, with a gradual 2,000 ft climb. We started at 9:30 am and were back to the car around 2:30, including a few stops and lunch at the summit. The parking area was getting busy. After a mile or so of a shaded hiking trail, the fire road then takes you to the summit. Weather wasn't exactly on our side at the summit. Descending, however, the trail provided amazing views of Napa/Sonoma County, (glimpses of) Lake Berryessa, and distance snow covered high Sierras. As of 2/18 the snow has completely melted. My advice would be to try to hike this on a clear day.

hiking
10 months ago

Did this hike at the end of Jan. 2017. there were a few stretches of melting snow towards the top, but the trail was still heavily used. First mile and a quarter is trail and after that its a two track fuel break/service road all the way to the summit. The views are expansive from the top, on clear winter days you can see downtown San Fransisco, Mt. Shasta, Tahoe basin, Point Reyes, Snow Mountain, Hull Mountain, Mt. Konocti. Moderate day hike.

10 months ago

Snow towards the top, absolutely beautiful.

hiking
11 months ago

This is a easy hike best views in Sonoma county

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