Westwood Hills Park,
City of Napa Parks and Recreation,
Napa County

In brief:
1.2 mile hike through a wine county park near downtown Napa.

Distance, category, and difficulty
:
This 1.2 mile loop hike is easy. Elevation changes are slight, although there is one short very steep downhill stretch.

Exposure
:
More shade than sun.

Trail traffic
:
Light.

Trail surfaces
:
Dirt trails and fire roads.

Hiking time
:
1 hour.

Season
:
Hot in summer; best in spring.

Getting there
:
From CA 29 in Napa County, exit 1st Street/Downtown Napa. Drive west on 1st Street (which becomes Browns Valley Road) about 0.8 mile, then turn left into the park.

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
http://www.transitandtrails.org/trailheads/29

GPS coordinates* for trailhead:
Latitude 3818'10.05"N
Longitude
12219'10.06"W
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, and lodging
:
Gas, pay phone, stores, and restaurants back near CA 29. No camping.

Trailhead details
:
No parking or entrance fees. Small paved parking lot. There is a map under glass and a drinking fountain at the trailhead. No restrooms or pay phone. There is a designated handicapped parking spot, but trails are not accessible to wheelchairs. A Napa VINE bus runs along Brown Valley Road. Visit their website for more info.

Rules:
Park is open from sunrise to sunset. Trails are open to hikers and equestrians. No dogs or bikes on trail.

Map Choices:
• Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Great Day Hikes in and around Napa Valley, by Ken Stanton (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and trail descriptions.
North Bay Trails, by David Weintraub (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and trail descriptions.

Westwood Hills in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.

View photos from this hike.



Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

Unlike some of the more rigorous and remote wine country parks, Westwood Hills offers a gentle hiking experience less than a mile from CA 29, in residential Napa. TrailheadAt this small park packed with a variety of vegetation you'll travel up a eucalyptus filled canyon, traverse grassland dotted with buckeye, and wind through coast live oak and California bay woodlands. Before you know it you'll run out of real estate and find yourself back at the trailhead. The park features a handful of fire roads and about as many footpaths, but not all junctions are signed. It's fairly easy to stay oriented though, as vistas stretch in every direction once you climb out of the woods.
     Begin at the edge of the parking lot, on a paved road. The road climbs slightly, then a private driveway veers left. Continue straight and at about 200 feet, pass around a gate onto a fire road. At an easy grade Valley View Trail ascends through a eucalyptus forest, with some California bay and coast live oak. A series of signposts begins along the trail, companion to a self-guided tour pamphlet under glass at the trailhead. You'll squeeze around another gate, then at 0.20 mile, you'll reach a signed junction with trails departing to the left and right. Turn right.Gate on an ascending fire road
      Shrunken a bit in stature, the trail climbs through woods and passes through a gate -- this fence line runs steeply uphill and you'll encounter it again. Broom crowds the trail. At 0.29 mile you'll reach an unsigned T junction. Turn left.
     Now in woods dominated by California bay, coast live oak, madrone, with some bigleaf maple, the trail adopts a nearly level pace along a ridge. You'll pass through another gate and continue left/straight where a slight path departs on the right. Black boulders sit under the trees on the right, no doubt the inspiration for the path, which is named Rocky Ridge Trail. There are partial views to rolling hillsides out of the park to the west. The trail crests, then begins an easy descent back into the eucalyptus forest. At 0.44 mile, you'll reach an unsigned multiple junction, with all the options fire roads. Take a soft right onto an ascending fire road.
     The broad trail immediately leaves the eucalyptus woods behind, and rises into coast live oak woods mixed through grassland. Sweeping uphill, continue straight past a signed junction with a footpath on the right, at 0.51 mile. A level stretch along a ridgeA few steps later, at 0.52 mile, you'll reach a saddle, junction, and picnic table. The broad fire road running along a ridge to the left reaches a viewpoint, an optional add-on to this hike. Turn left and look for a post numbered 11. A narrow unsigned trail heads slightly downhill at 0.54 mile, just past the post, beginning on a bare expanse of rock. Walk downhill on this path, named Deer Trail, angling across a grassy hillside dotted with coast live oak and California bay, monkeyflower, poison oak, and sagebrush. On a clear day you'll have a view east across Napa Valley to the Vaca Mountains. At 0.59 mile, the path forks. Stay to the right. The trail continues downhill at an easy grade, entering an open sloping meadow dominated by buckeyes, where cows may be grazing. At 0.70 mile, the trail passes through a cluster of small coast live oaks. Just past the trees, the trail drops sharply downhill. Grassland and buckeyes on the east side of the parkThis is an optional route back toward the trailhead, but I was hoping for a more gentle option. Back in the coast live oak clump, turn left and uphill on a slight path.
     Buckeyes and coast live oaks sprawl in the grassland, and you might notice a few black oak in a more dense woodland on the right. At 0.73 mile, you'll reach a T junction at the ridgeline. Turn right. A bench on the left is a good place to soak in the views east. As the trail begins to descend, it narrows a bit through some broom, but is still easy to follow. The descent is easy until the trail takes a sharp dive downhill. At 0.86 mile, you'll reach a T junction at the fenced park boundary. Browns Valley Road and surrounding houses are visible and audible. Turn left.
     The narrow trail clings near the fence as it gently descends from buckeye and coast live oak back into the eucalyptus canyon. At 0.97 mile, a fire road heads uphill on the left. Continue straight.Steep descent
     A few steps later you'll reach a broad flat, still under tree cover but strangely bare, perhaps due to cattle traffic. The official trail ascends to the left, reaching a previously encountered junction, but another path slips uphill to the right, reaching the fire road back at a gate slightly downhill from the junction. Either route is fine. Once you reach the fire road, turn right and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Total distance: 1.22 miles
Last hiked: Monday, September 9, 2002