It’s Mother’s Day this weekend, and while a massage and a soak (with a glass of bubbles in my hand) sounds like the perfect way to celebrate me, I think I’ll take a rain check (meaning I still want the gift certificate, honey) and spend the day with my family. We love to “go outside and play,” the theme of a new website from Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District that shares information about parks and trails for hiking (and walking). We love hiking with our daughter because we have the opportunity to see things through her eyes. Our hikes become a game, a treasure hunt, an expedition…kids find pleasure in the littlest things, for example on a recent hike in Moore Creek Park my 4-year-old was able to identify Buckeyes, and she was so very proud. So were we!
Our go-to hikes are Westwood Hills and the River to Ridge trail. We also love walking along the Napa River from Lincoln Avenue to Trancas, Kennedy Park to Third St. in downtown Napa, and the Oxbow Preserve. Recently we were feeling a little more ambitious and hiked the Valentine Vista Trail at Moore Creek Park. The views were incredible, and we saw signs for a “secret swimming hole,” but the weather wasn’t conducive for swimming so we will definitely plan a return visit, perhaps this weekend.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Alston Park, Napa
Alston Park has three miles of meandering trails that are open to equestrians, mountain bikers, hikers, and dog walkers. This park is definitely a favorite for dog owners – and parents!
Bothe Napa Valley State Park, Calistoga
The fully restored Bale Grist Mill, a water-powered gristmill circa 1846 at the end of the History Trail is always a big hit. On weekends you can watch grain being milled with the historic stones powered by the 36-foot wooden water wheel.
Moore Creek Park, St. Helena
The Lake Hennessey Shoreline Trail, home to the Napa-Solano Audubon Birding Trail (be on the lookout for the colorful signs), is a great trail for wildlife spotting and it’s flat and stroller-friendly if you enter from the Conn Valley gate. There’s also a secret swimming hole here.
Napa River Bay Trail, American Canyon
This is a very accessible network of trails that begin with a paved walkway and veer off onto a large dirt path, all very stroller-friendly. There is a spectacular amount of bird life here, including egrets, herons, hawks, and various waterfowl. In addition, the unique “Glass Beach” awaits at the river.
Napa River Ecological Reserve, Yountville
This hike is centrally located, not too strenuous, and a short walk takes you to the river, where it’s so much fun to dip your toes. When the water level is low you can cross the river and stroll along a quiet, 1/2-mile trail that loops through majestic oaks and other native plants.
River to Ridge Trail, Napa
This neighborhood walk begins at the banks of the Napa River in Kennedy Park and leads to the Ridge Trail route in the hills of Skyline Wilderness Park.
Skyline Wilderness Park, Napa
Skyline includes over 25 miles of trails and a short main trail (just over 2 miles) that leads to Lake Marie. There’s lots of cool stuff to see including a couple caves, old stone ruins, and if you’re up to it, Lake Marie at the top.
Westwood Hills Park, Napa
The heavily-wooded Napa City park provides lots of short trails through beautiful groves of oak trees and grassy meadows, with expansive views of the city. There are benches and picnic tables near the parking lot and along the trails. Make sure to look out for the “spider tree!”
Resources for Hiking:
Tips for Hiking with Kids
Our friends at REI share tips to help ensure your kids have fun and stay comfortable and safe while hiking.