Just because you’ve had your fill of food, wine and vines doesn’t mean your restless Rover is ready to call it a day. After all, there’s not much exercise to be had in a tasting room. If the two of you need to burn a few calories, we suggest starting your day at Canine Commons dog park, part of 157-acre Alston Park northwest of downtown Napa. This fenced, 3-acre romp space (small dogs have their own area) is custom designed for off-leash play. In addition, dogs under voice control are allowed to accompany you without a tether on almost 30 acres of open space surrounded by vineyards above the dog-park enclosure. In addition to Alston Park, you’ll find off-leash areas for dogs under voice control at Napa’s Shurtleff and Franquelin dog parks and in the undeveloped areas of 350-acre Kennedy Park.
For leashed walks, check out the three miles fairly gentle (yet challenging in places) trails at Westwood Hills Park just a mile off Highway 29 in the southern Napa Valley. It’s a half-mile climb through a fragrant eucalyptus forest to a great viewpoint at the top—and if you don’t feel like climbing, you can stretch your legs on flatter sections of trail at the base. Easier still: take a stroll along the downtown River Walk or check out the trails in Trancas Crossing Park, a 33-acre preserve where you can enjoy nature and even launch a kayak.
To really escape the tourist crowds, try the serene, four-mile perimeter hike around Lake Hennessey, Napa’s municipal water-supply reservoir and a popular fishing and birding destination. If you’re feeling really ambitious, block out a day for the challenging, 8.3-mile Oat Hill Mine Trail in Calistoga, which provides sweeping views of the valley and up-close looks at striking volcanic formations.
A bit farther afield, Lake Berryessa beckons with the easy, 2.6 mile Smittle Creek Trail from Smittle Creek Park to Coyote Knolls in Oak Shores Park. This well maintained path follows a shoreline route alongside a quiet strait popular for canoeing and kayaking. Also at Berryessa, the Pope Canyon Trail provides lake access after a 1.5-mile hike-in from the trailhead.Posted on: June 29, 2022