If terms like “chunk,” “grunt,” and “lung-buster” are part of your vocabulary, you’re probably a mountain-biker. And although the Napa Valley is best known for its vineyard-covered valley floor, it’s surrounded by hills – hence the valley – that offer excellent biking trails for every skill level.
Here’s a list of the region’s parks with the best trails for mountain biking. Bear in mind that many of these are also popular hiking and horse trails, so maintain control at all times.
Skyline Wilderness Park is definitely the Holy Grail of biking parks, with seven excellent trails ranging from half a mile to nearly four miles. One takes you as far as Lake Marie to the east, and several offer expansive North Bay views.
Lynch Canyon and Newell Open Spaces are just east of the town of American Canyon and offer five trails, from just under a mile to almost four miles. If you’re a beginning rider, start with the easy-going Lynch Road; if you’re a seasoned biker, go for the Prairie Ridge Trail.
Moore Creek Park features the Valentine Vista Trail – three miles long with an elevation of 446 feet. The ascent is on a flat fire road, but the return features some fast, windy supertrack.
Robert Louis Stevenson State Park’s Oat Hill Mine Trail is ranked black diamond (difficult) for good reason: it climbs more than 2,800 feet over 16 miles. But if you’re up to the challenge, the ride is well worth it. As you rise steadily above the town of Calistoga, you’re treated to beautiful scenery and challenging terrain. If you keep going to the end of the trail, you’ll be treated with eastward views of Aetna Springs and Pope Valley.
For detailed descriptions and rankings of all these trails, go to the MTB Project or Trailforks. And if you need some last-minute biking supplies or repairs, there are plenty of bike shops throughout the valley. Try Napa Valley Bike Tours, Napa Valley Velo, Bicycle Works, or The Hub in Napa, St. Helena Cyclery, or Calistoga Bikeshop.
Photo credit: @cars.o.n with @ryan.r.1 on the bike.