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Mount Saint Helena Trail

HARD 265 reviews

Mount Saint Helena Trail is a 9.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Calistoga, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 9.3 miles Elevation Gain: 2,099 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

mountain biking

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

hiking
4 days ago

Beginning of the trail is switchbacks and narrow. After a mile and a half or so, the rest of the trail is on an access road - wide and smooth.

hiking
no shade
6 days ago

Good trail. It’s a fire road most of the way and very exposed.

recorded Mount Saint Helena Trail

hiking
15 days ago

Not hard, just long. Amazing views almost the whole way. Not much shade. No bathrooms, no water there. Bring lots!

hiking
21 days ago

Nice trail. not too difficult. good views. reward st the top so that was nice.

hiking
no shade
rocky
26 days ago

For my first real hike, I thoroughly enjoyed the consistently beautiful views coming up to the summit. The only distraction from the gorgeous view are the radio towers at the top. I’d recommend checking the forecast for wind speeds as the gusts can make sitting atop the summit a little uncomfortable unless you’re used to it.

hiking
bugs
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
bugs
no shade
1 month ago

The majority of this hike is along a dirt road; however, the monotony of the graded terrain is accented with some fantastic views. Only at the very end of the ‘hike’ does it get surprisingly steep considering that vehicles have to drive up and down. The summit is shared with some humming communication radios and very large birds perching in the tower looking like they want to peck your eyes out. The almost 360-degree view is stunning. This is a great diversion from drinking too much wine and eating almost as much. If you want to burn off a few of those calories, do this hike. Be sure to bring water and a hat. All but two miles of this hike is exposed and gets extremely hot, especially this time of year. Any parts of skin that I did not have covered had a good red glow by the time I was finished. Any shade that did exist was short lived and any enjoyment was tainted by annoying little bugs that insisted on going into my eyes and nose.

hiking
bugs
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Although the review stating this hike is boring are not completely false, its about finding the joy in everything you do First off, do not attempt this during Summer/Fall, you will regret it. Extremely hot, super exposed, no water resupply at any point However, during a cold winter you will find this to be an amazing hike for the Napa/Sonoma County area. It gets frosty/snowcapped, which is not something you can say about every peak in the area. It also is much more pleasant in cooler conditions, and the views are worth every step!

hiking
2 months ago

Trail is really easy as it is all on gravel road. Not sure why the app rates it as hard. Found it completely boring. Wish we had chosen the trail across the street in the parking lot - Table Rock. We completed that one a year ago and absolutely loved it.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Almost all of the trail is on a dusty gravel road on which trucks pass you regularly. Hike up two miles for the nice view of the valley and then turn around.

hiking
2 months ago

Trekked my balls off

hiking
3 months ago

It was totally worth the hike up. I ended up eating lunch on some sweet rocks at the summit. Bunch of spots for the Instagram

hiking
3 months ago

I found this to be a great, local training hike for an upcoming Sierra backpacking trip and for enjoying views, but the trail itself is just a dirt road and very exposed. Not a lot of variety on the trail itself, it’s about the views. Several trucks passed me on the way up which had maintenance workers for all the communication towers at the top.

hiking
3 months ago

looking for a short / physical hike, this is it. we did late afternoon and finished before sunset.

Take water, extra if the sun is shining...which it does even when Santa Rosa is socked in with fog.

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

Just want to put in a plug for this great trail! I have done it before but clearly the spring/ early summer is where it shines. There were amazing yellow wildflowers alongside the trail that were just so beautiful. The fire damaged trees made the bird watching easier too! Walking on fire roads has the benefit of being able to look around at the views and wildlife without having to watch where you are walking every second. Anyway, I love this hike but I would avoid it on a hot day. Also, a toilet at the trail head would be a beautiful thing!

Excellent hike!!!

hiking
4 months ago

The trail up on the fire road wasn’t too interesting but the views are the top, especially when overcast, were ridiculously amazing.

hiking
4 months ago

Steady incline all the way to the top. Amazing view from the North towers. I’ve done this hike countless times!

hiking
4 months ago

11.5 miles true trip according to Garmin Fenix 5.

5 months ago

gorgeous. hot in summer

hiking
6 months ago

Nice hike more in the tradition of the east bay hikes. first 1 mile is under the canopy of the trees but after that the complete trail is exposed. The weather when i hiked was sunny but not too hot even though started after 1. took about 2 hrs to get to the peak and similar to get back. not much traffic after 1 and could find parking also, i would guess in the mornings it can be crowded. nothing of much interests in terms of variety of vegetation, wildlife or others. Views can be good if not hazy. peaks are covered with telecom equipment so this can be a just a good area to get some hiking miles. Would not categorize it as hard since mostly its gentle slopes

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