We've teamed up with some of our favorite local outdoor adventurers to explore the best places to hike in Napa Valley. In this edition, we're getting off the beaten path with Denise Henquet Sprengers, founder of Get Energized NV Pilates, to explore Bothe Napa State Park in St. Helena.
As early as 8 am you can head over to one of my favorite parks in the Napa Valley; Bothe State Park, just north of my town of St. Helena on Highway 29.
For adventurous shady hikes and a happy family, the park entrance fee of $8 per car is very well spent.
Bothe Park is an absolute gem in the heart of our beloved wine country. Every time I visit I am grateful for the wildlife that shows up right in front of us like hummingbirds, many different butterflies, deer, and crayfish.
Before we go on the trail, we tell everyone to look out for poison oak ('leaves of three, let them be') and stay on the path. And then making sure to look up once in a while to enjoy the beautiful dappled sunlight.
Bothe Park has the farthest inland coast redwoods of any state park. This park has the most beautiful soaring 100-year-old redwood trees and you'll also find some vines that you can climb up on and make you feel like Jane in the jungle!
"Here you'll find the connection with nature, your loved ones and yourself."
As a pilates and mobility professional, I'm always in for active ways of spend time. Going here with friends and family leaves us all on a high and fully rejuvenated. It is a great way to stay active and experience mother nature in its purest form. Visiting Bothe Park is definitely one of our favorite weekend morning activities. For the kids, it is all about exploring. They enjoy crossing the creek multiple times and trying not to or explicitly so get wet (usually I have the kids wear shoes that can get wet), swinging from the vines, finding water creatures at the rocky creek beds.
There are over 10 miles of trails. Our favorite is the Redwood Trail. If it is your first time, pick up or download a Park Map with all info.
We usually start at the main parking lot, and after about ten minutes, cross the creek onto the Ritchey Creek Trail and automatically hike onto Ritchey Canyon. From there you can cross the creek again to make a loop back onto the Redwood Trail. That makes for about 1.5 hours of moderate and mostly shaded hiking. There are times, especially on hot summer days, when we spend so much time at the creek beds that we don't make it very far into the park.
This park is like a sanctuary, especially now, a place where you can freely take some good deep breaths. It is here where you'll find the connection with nature, your loved ones, and yourself.
And if you can’t get enough of it, there is a camping site and yurts that can be booked for overnight stays.
I can only agree with what John Muir said; "And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
Denise Henquet Sprengers
Denise is an internationally certified mobility and pilates master trainer in Napa Valley. With an overall feel-good approach, she has been making clients (personal, group, and events) feel energized for almost 20 years, while challenging the whole body with the right mix of strength, stretch and mobility work.
Next to workouts, Denise will also take you on guided workout hikes if you like.
On a quest to have everyone enjoy movement, besides often donation-based teaching, she has been a Girls on the run, soccer, and field hockey coach and founded the Walk and Roll to School for more frequent movement and safe bicycling through town.
Bothe Napa Valley State Park
3801 Saint Helena Highway / www.napaoutdoors.org
*During the time of writing, because of Covid-19 face coverings are required when encountering other individuals or groups.