This segment is in the North Bay area, starting at the north end of the town of Napa, so it turned out to be convenient to hike it on my way to a Lake Tahoe weekend. The weather was spectacular, especially for mid-February. In fact, though I was only wearing a light base-layer I was nearly overdressed, as the mid-day temperature reached 72 degrees.
The trail is described as being suitable for bikers, hikers, and (on part of the route) equestrians. Except for a short section through the town of Yountville, the route is actually on the shoulder of 50 mph roads. I was glad that there wasn’t very much traffic, but it seemed to me this route is most ideal for bikers – what a great place to train for one of the many area cycle touring events! As a hiker I felt just a little out of place. I encountered several cyclists along the way, but no other walkers other than a few folks walking their dogs in the residential areas.
Although I parked next to the Start location shown on the official segment map, the side street did not have a street sign, and I didn’t find a Bay Area Ridge Trail marker until I had walked a couple of miles up the road. As I returned to my car at the end of the hike, though, I found a sign indicating the end of the trail segment. I mention this in case it helps a future hiker.
Enough about logistics! It was a beautiful pre-spring day. The first portion of the trail follows CA 29 immediately next to the vineyard fields for which the Napa Valley is famous.
The vines were in a dormant state, but I did note a dozen or so workers who seemed to be preparing the fields for imminent spring. The regular rows made for interesting geometric patterns as my angle relative to the rows changed.
And though it was only mid-February, there were some pretty early spring wildflowers. Some were growing between the rows of grape vines.
I walk for enjoyment of the outdoors and for fitness. Particularly on flat, level terrain I tend to walk pretty fast. There was one particular cyclist whom I encountered a total of 3 times along the route. He passed me each time, so he must have taken some detours or run errands between encounters. In any case, the third time he passed me we were a few miles from the first encounter, and he commented in a friendly way that I was really moving and getting around.
Finally, I want to mention the Napa Valley wine train, whose tracks run next to CA 29. A couple of trains passed me, and it was fun to imagine the passengers enjoying stops and samples at the local wineries.