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Coyote Peak

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park Links:

April 18th, 1999

4.4 miles
760 vertical feet
Total Time: 2:05

Rating: 7/10

Directions: Take Highway 128/29 north past the town of St. Helena. Turn left into the park. Park by the trailhead just past the Ritchey Creek Campground turnoff.   View Driving Map

Jean and I hiked in Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.

This time, we got a map from the park entrance (for $1).

The Ritchey Canyon Trail starts out beneath beautiful redwoods, next to Ritchey Creek. It's a beautiful and unexpected sight in the heart of wine country. And definitely a welcome change from the hot, brushy trail we'd encountered the day before. The trail in most places is wide enough to hike side by side.

Ritchey Creek

We veered left onto the Redwood Trail. We continued to see redwoods, a few scattered wildflowers, and a fair number of hikers on the trail.

Then it was left up to Coyote Peak Trail. Soon we left the comfortable shade of the redwood trees and danced into and out of the sunlight. Lizards scampered across the trail. We only passed a handful of people on this section of the trail. One man was carrying two of his kids! One in front of him, and one was hanging around his neck. Looked like fun for the kids, but didn't look like much fun for the father.

My best picture of a lizard to date

At the top we took a very short spur trail up to the peak, where we were met with nice views into the Napa Valley to the southeast and Ritchey Canyon and the mountains beyond to the west. The view wasn't nearly as expansive as the one from Bald Mountain the day before. Trees obstructed our view to the north and south. But it was a nice view for fairly minimal effort.

We continued along the Coyote Peak Trail, soon entering the redwood forest again. Then it was right onto the South Fork Trail. We crossed a bridge or two. Then right onto the Ritchey Canyon Trail. Soon we found ourselves facing a seeming dilemma. The trail obviously continued on the other side of a fairly fast-flowing creek. However, after some experimentation we discovered that it wasn't too difficult to cross by stepping on a few strategic rocks. Still, I wish I'd had my trekking poles for balance. I'd decided earlier that the hike was short enough that I wouldn't bring them.

Descending from Coyote Peak

The trail eventually brought us back to the Redwood Trail, and then onto a final stretch of the Ritchey Canyon Trail back to the parking lot. We finished in a brisk 2 hours. I'd definitely hike on the trail again. It would be nice to explore more of the South Fork Trail and the Ritchey Canyon Trail. There aren't a lot of options for long hikes, but the redwoods would make for a nice leisurely hike. There's also a campground next to the creek.

Heading back along the Redwood Trail (no, those aren't redwoods)

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