Best Hikes in Wine Country

Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too, and by that we mean have your wine and maintain your waistline. Famed for the culinary scene and biking — and of course the acres and acres of vineyard — Napa and Sonoma don’t receive too much attention for hiking, though there’s loads to write home about. With varying levels of difficulty and changing terrain, hikes here offer something for everyone. These are our picks for best Wine Country hikes.

*Wildfires happen, things change — be sure to check the trail status before you go.

Photo Credit: AllTrails
Photo: AllTrails

Bald Mountain Trail

KENWOOD
Level: Moderate — 5.1 miles

Located in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, this trail features not only amazing views of both Napa and Sonoma valleys, but also of San Francisco and the bay. You’ll notice burn areas from recent fires and the resiliency of nature — wildflowers are abundant here. Among the special sights are whispering bells which only bloom every few years after a wildfire. With some steep portions and a climb of 1,528 feet, hiking boots are advised.

AllTrails Link

Canyon and Pony Gate Trail Loop-Wine Country-Hikes-credit Steve Rubin:AllTrails-800x450
Photo: AllTrails

Canyon and Pony Gate Ridge Loop

KENWOOD
Level: Easy — 2.1 miles

An easy-to-moderate level of difficulty due to the uphills at the end of the hike, there’s an assortment of treats to take in on this trail, none bigger than the waterfall which runs in early spring. Not too packed for a trail that’s noted for its beauty, it tends to get hot here so bring extra water and go early in the morning if you’re sensitive to heat. Parking is plentiful but costs $10.

AllTrails Link

Lake Hennessey Shoreline Trail-Wine Country-Hikes-credit Rafael Torres:AllTrails-800x450
Photo: AllTrails

Lake Hennessey Shoreline Trail

ST. HELENA
Level: Moderate — 5.5 miles

Yes, there’s a lake named like a liquor in Wine Country. A dry, rocky loop — wear hiking boots — that’s often eerily quiet, this trail is dog-friendly and partially shaded. You’ll get to see a wide variety of birds regardless of season and may even luck out with a river otter spotting. The parking lot is small and ticks are known to be in the area, so keep doggo on a short leash.

AllTrails Link

Rector Reservoir Wildlife Area-Wine Country-Hikes-credit Scott Barber:AllTrails-800x450
Photo: AllTrails

Rector Resevoir Wildlife Area

NAPA
Level: Moderate — 3.4 miles

Wildlife area is right — among the things you’ll encounter here are lots of birds, lizards, wildflowers and possibly even snakes. With an elevation gain of just over 1,100 feet, some parts are especially steep and rocky so wear boots with a solid grip. After the climb you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views from the ridge. There aren’t too many shaded areas so wear a hat and bring plenty of water along.

AllTrails Link

River to Ridge Trail-Wine Country-Hikes-credit AllTrails-800x450
Photo: AllTrails

River to Ridge Trail

NAPA
Level: Easy — 3.4 miles

Popular for a handful of reasons, the name says a lot. An ideal pick if you’re looking for a casual stroll before dinner, you won’t work up much of a sweat here or get dirty — the trail is very well maintained and offers plenty of shade. The trail ends at the entrance of Skyline Wilderness, so if you are looking for more of a challenge, this presents a perfect opportunity. One note: it is rocky in sections so wear shoes with a good grip.

AllTrails Link

Skyline Trail and Manzanita Trail Loop-Wine Country-Hikes-credit Rebecca Souther:AllTrails-800x450
Photo: AllTrails

Skyline Trail and Manzanita Trail Loop

NAPA
Level: Moderate — 4 miles

A varied loop in the lower section of Skyline Wilderness Park, you’ll get some of the best views from the top including San Pablo Bay, Lake Marie, and Marie Creek Canyon. With an elevation climb of 915 feet, this is a hike you should be able to complete quickly at a decent pace. Given that the trail starts at the edge of the city, you’ll be able to fit it in before wine tasting with ease. Park entrance is $6 — pay with cash or via the PayPal app.

AllTrails Link

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our Wine Country page for more ideas on where to eat, stay and things to do!

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