Anyone who has driven through the Napa Valley on Highway 29 knows all too well this is not a safe road for cyclists.
But what if a trail paralleled this main thoroughfare? What if it had a start/end point at the ferry terminal in Vallejo so it connected to the greater Bay Area?
The nearly $60 million, 47-mile Vine Trail is going to do just that and then some.
Calistoga is the other start/end point of the trail. This will be at the Oat Hill Mine Trail at the junction of Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail before heading over Mount St. Helena.
As with most trails, it’s being built in sections that aren’t linked—yet. This month construction resumed on the eight-mile Calistoga to St. Helena section. It should be finished this year.
The whole project is being spearheaded by the nonprofit Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition. Money is coming from the feds, state and various partners. The project started in 2008 and will be done in 2027 at the earliest.
On a weekday afternoon last month three of us pedaled the paved path from Napa north to Yountville. We were next to, but separated from, the tracks used by the wine train. It was about 12 miles round trip.
While we had been warned there are lots of roads to cross, it wasn’t any big deal. There are roads to cross on most of the trails I’ve ridden on in urban areas. We weren’t huddled up against vehicle traffic, or crossing when cars did. I always felt safe.
Oak Knoll and Yountville, two of the 10 sections of trail, had signs with information about these locations like how “George Yount planted the first vineyards in the Napa Valley in 1836 in the area now known as NapaNook.” Presumably there will be kiosks like this at each section. It makes the route educational as well as scenic.
This trail is not just for cyclists. This means it is wide enough to accommodate walkers, joggers and dogs going in both directions. E-bikes are allowed, but not other motorized vehicles.
Here is the Vine Trail map.