10,000 Steps in Calistoga
May 2, 2019
Calistoga and wellness go are a perfect pairing. The north-Valley city is famous for its mineral springs, and visitors have come for centuries to improve their physical and mental health. Today the city is home to more than a half-dozen spas for people to unwind. Walking the area is another way to focus on feeling good.
And what a walking city Calistoga is. Whether you’re strolling sleepy residential neighborhoods, running country roads, traipsing city sidewalks or climbing nearby trails, you’ve got a multitude of options to hit your daily target of 10,000 steps. Plan your visit right and you might even be able to swing through a local museum and learn a thing or two. Here, in no particular order, are three walking-friendly itineraries designed to help visitors address fitness before they even step foot in a spa (see what we did there?).
Thar it blows
While the Napa Valley’s Old Faithful geyser isn’t as famous as the one in Yellowstone, it’s still an incredible sight to behold. The spectacle also happens to be a 2-mile walk from town. To get there, head north on Grant Street, past historic homes and vineyards, and cross Tubbs Lane (which, be warned, can get busy). The signs welcome you: Old Faithful Geyser of California. The experience at this eccentric attraction begins in a museum where visitors can learn about the geology about what’s happening outside. There also are manicured gardens, a petting zoo-style animal farm, and a picnic area to enjoy. The geyser itself erupts from the center of a tiny pond surrounded by reeds and tall grass. It goes off regularly every 5 to 35 minutes, depending on the season, and can shoot as high as 80 feet into the air in summer. Be sure to bring a camera.
(Oh, and if you’re thirsty for wine after your geology lesson, check out Tamber Bey Vineyards next door.)
Another good strategy for completing your goal of 10,000 steps in Calistoga: Walking around town. From the downtown core, start with a tour of the Sharpsteen Museum, which does a great job of informing visitors about the past. Next, head over to Highway 29 to hit Tank Garage Winery and T-Vine Winery for some bold and unique sips from around the region.
Meals always taste better when they’re earned, stroll over to Silverado Trail for a late lunch at Solbar, the award-winning restaurant at Solage Calistoga. Here, Executive Chef Gustavo Rios is redefining California cuisine by using fresh local produce at every turn. You’ll want to linger on the inviting patio but you’ve got more steps to walk, so head back into town for some window-shopping up and down Lincoln Avenue. Also worth visiting: Calistoga Pottery, where Jeff and Sally Manfredi have been making pottery together for more than 35 years.
Grab a coffee at local favorite Yo el Rey Roasting, and leave yourself time to browse the aisles at Copperfield’s Books. Wrap a great day with a hearty dinner of ribs, beans, and slaw at the lovably informal Buster’s Original Southern BBQ.
Oat Hill Mine splendor
For those who like serious hikes, Calistoga is home to the trailhead for one of the most epic tromps in the entire Bay Area: The Oat Hill Mine Trail.
The hard-pack dirt trail follows 8.3 miles of an old stagecoach route between Calistoga and the western end of Aetna Springs Road in Pope Valley over an elevation change of 1500 feet. The route originally was built in the 1870s to provide a transportation route between Calistoga and the cinnabar and quicksilver (mercury) mines in Pope Valley. While the mines are closed and inaccessible today, the old road is maintained as a trail, offering a challenging hike (from the trailhead at the intersection of Lincoln and Silverado Trail, it’s straight up!) and spectacular views of the entire Napa Valley as you climb.
Visitors don’t have to hike the entire distance—to be frank, that would be enough steps for two or three days. Still, even a hike to the old homestead at the halfway point would notch enough steps to stick to your program.