Oat Hill Mine Trail - Photo Credit: @thepacklife.napa
Napa Valley is amazingly dog-friendly, with scores of wineries and restaurants welcoming four-legged visitors accompanied by humans. When it comes to hiking, head to Moore Creek Park, on the north side of Lake Hennessy near St. Helena. Among 15 miles of trails here is the serene, 5.6-mile Shoreline Trail/Alta Hennessey Loop, which traces the perimeter of this fresh-water reservoir with a jaunt into the hills along a dirt road. If that’s not enough, head up-valley to Calistoga and tackle the challenging, 8.3-mile Oat Hill Mine Trail, which provides sweeping views of the valley and up-close looks at striking volcanic formations.
Tamer exercise options are on tap at Alston Park northwest of downtown Napa, where dogs can run freely off-leash on 30 acres at the top of the hilly, 157-acre preserve. Much of the off-leash space is on the site of an old fruit orchard that bursts with blossoms in February. The Prune Picker's trail through the off-leash area is a half-mile circuit. For a longer loop, park at Alston Park's Dry Creek Loop trailhead. Alston Park also includes a fenced, well tended and highly popular 3-acre dog park known as Canine Commons.
In addition to Alston Park, you’ll find off-leash areas for dogs under voice control at Napa’s Shurtleff dog park and the undeveloped areas of 350-acre Kennedy Park on the shore of the Napa River.
Take note: Kennedy Park is also the starting point for the new 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-mile section paralleling the Napa Valley Wine Train tracks from Kennedy Park to downtown Yountville is up and running. The 3.5-mile portion of the trail between the park-and-ride lot across from Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa on highway 29 provides a convenient place to park and embark on an easy walk that can include wine tasting and lunch. Break the trip at Laird Family Estate, a dog-friendly winery and tasting facility housed in an architecturally intriguing structure built to an I.M. Pei design, or at Domaine Chandon, a sparkling wine specialist where dog-friendly options include strolling the landscaped grounds and relaxing at 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 with a heater on a winter weekend, you’ll want to make reservations in advance. Acclaimed eateries Bouchon, Redd Wood and Hurley’s are among a least a dozen options.
Photo Credit: @thepacklife.napa