Looking for ways to combine hiking with wine tasting and a really tasty lunch? A new opportunity for DogTrekkers awaits along the newly inaugurated Napa Valley Vine Trail, a paved, multiuse path that eventually will stretch 47 miles from the Vallejo ferry terminal to Calistoga. For now, a 12.5-mile segment from Napa’s Kennedy Park to the tony enclave of Yountville is ready for feet, paws and bicycles, with only a short stretch requiring a detour onto city streets.
For most of the way, the trail traces a parallel path between Highway 29 and the railroad tracks utilized by the Napa Valley Wine Train. It’s not a bucolic route, but it’s a safe one, and you’ll find shelters, benches and pickup-bag dispensers at intervals along the way.
Our suggestions: For a shortish outing, park in Yountville and trek the trail to one of three wineries within 3.5 miles. Or, make a day of it by ditching your vehicle at the park-and-ride lot near the Marriott Napa Valley Hotel & Spa on Solano Avenue. From there, it’s an easy 2.5-mile stroll to Laird Family Estate, a dog-friendly winery and tasting facility housed in an architecturally intriguing structure built to an I.M. Pei design. The patio overlooks a custom crush pad that processes grapes for more than 60 labels, and the estate wines will delight without breaking the bank.
A little farther down the path, Silenus Winery is open for tastings by appointment and also welcomes dogs with people on the other end of the leash. At the approach to Yountville is Domaine Chandon, a sparkling wine specialist where dog-friendly options include strolling the landscaped grounds and sinking into a table on the expansive patio off the tasting room.
You’ll have no problem finding a place to eat in restaurant-rich Yountville, but to snag a dog-friendly patio table on a weekend, you’ll want to make reservations in advance. Acclaimed eateries Bouchon, Redd Wood and Hurley’s are among the yummy choices.
Need a ride back to your vehicle? Easy enough: Just summon a dog-friendly Uber. (Text the driver to ask if canine passengers are accepted.)
Napa Valley Vine Trail – Photo Credit: @nvvinetrail