Wine-Soaked Adventure: Hiking and Biking in California's Napa Valley

by  Blane Bachelor | Mar 8, 2012
Napa Valley
Napa Valley / erperlstrom/iStock

Since moving to San Francisco in July, I’ve traveled to wine country roughly once a month. This exquisite part of the world is a perfect combination of two of my absolute favorite things: outdoor activities and drinking good wine.

I’m more familiar with Sonoma Valley, but from the likes of the following recently announced happenings in Napa Valley, it’s time to pack up the bike and hiking shoes for some outdoor exploring there, too. Here, some great ways to ring in the spring in Northern California, from two-wheeled excursions to hikes in stunning wilderness that most people will never get to see. Whatever your pick, make sure to toast your effort with a big, fat glass of Napa Valley Cabernet.

Cycling and Sipping: Biking enthusiasts will delight in Velo Vino, a tasting room in St. Helena that celebrates wine and cycling. Serving Clif Family wines in tandem with group or custom biking excursions, Velo Vino offers free monthly cycling adventures targeted to moderate and advanced level riders, with routes ranging from 35 to 50 miles.

Among the upcoming rides: the 40-mile Franz Valley loop on March 24 and the 38-mile Old Toll Road route on April 21.

Art for Adventurers: The di Rosa Museum is well-known among art enthusiasts for its significant collection of Northern California art, and beginning in April, the museum will offer a series of guided hikes (April 28, May 5 and 19, June 9) to the top of the 722-foot Milliken Peak at di Rosa, the highest peak in Napa Valley’s Carneros region.

Along with the beautiful vistas of the North Bay, sculptures along the trek to the top may help take the focus from one’s quivering quads. In other words, this sounds like the kind of high art I could get into.

It’s a moderately strenuous hike, organizers warn, and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Hikes are $15, but free to members. For more information, visit

Hiking and Conserving: The Land Trust of Napa County has protected 26,000 acres of beautiful Northern California wilderness, designating these spaces as public parks and recreational areas resplendent with breathtaking views and wildlife.

Throughout the year, the Land Trust offers field trips such as hikes, wildlife sanctuary expeditions, or tours via Jeep to its protected areas, which are not generally available to the public. On tap beginning April 29: a six-mile trek with the Land Trust up Maggie’s Peak to the dramatic Devil’s Well waterfall and then into a serene redwood grove.

Hike and Hit the Hay at a LEED-certified hotel: At the eco-friendly Bardessono hotel in Yountville, one of only three LEED Platinum-certified hotels in the country, the “Hike the Day Away” package, from $429 per couple, includes annual membership for two with the Land Trust of Napa County. Why you should care: You'll get access to excellent hiking on private lands and opportunities for unique members-only excursions.

The Bardessono also offers amenities that encourage planet-friendly adventure: Think complimentary (carbon frame!) bike rentals for guests and an electric car recharging station.

To get started planning your next trip, check out our Napa Valley destination guide.

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