Oat Hill Mine Trail

There’s more to do in wine country than drink fabulous wine and eat tasty food…seriously! We have nature lovers (like us) who love to explore every inch of land whether it be covered in grapevines or meadows with views. Personally I like both!

The hubs and I indulged in a few hours of wine tasting on Saturday. We had 20 year old wine pouring, cheese plates till you pass out and great entertainment. The boss was having fun sabering champagne bottles and pouring champagne for everyone, treated all 400 guests to delicious food and countless bottles of amazing wine along with aerialists and magicians. Just another day in Napa Valley right? Of course!

Oh but the next day, the guilt of the cheese and wine sets in and one must get up to burn off all those calories! We had been wanting to check out the historic Oat Hill Mine Trail in Calistoga for a while and with the weather on the cooler side here in Northern California we decided it would be a great weekend to check it out. The trailhead is at the other end of downtown Calistoga on the Silverado Trail and has only a few parking spots. Once you head up (thanks to the county for providing maps!) the trail you are immediately treated to views of Calistoga. Keep going!!!

We had a steady climb and knew we would at least go about 3.5 miles to get to the top of Bald Hill for the amazing views. I was pleasantly surprised to see views of the valley around each corner. There was shade and sun and shade and sun. It was a great day for a hike in the upper 60’s so it wasn’t too hot nor too cold and the transitions between shade and sun were welcomed. We stopped at a great spot to take pics and a nice family chatted with us about what we would see just .5 miles more so we kept going up. It sure did not disappoint! We had views of the entire Napa Valley, Mayacamas, and north toward Mount Saint Helena oh and of course my favorite rock formation the Palisades. I was beyond excited to see them up close!! I drive by them each day and look up in admiration and here we were reaching out to touch them.

We spent a little time at the top of Bald Hill in admiration and awe of the views. It felt so good being up there above the world and feeling so free! I was absolutely amazed of the view and am still so excited about them!

The trail can be a 1 way 9 mile hike, which we will do this fall when the weather is cool again, but we opted to turn around at 3.5 miles and take a small trail back down from our perch on Bald Hilld. Well, one of us carefully walked back down the single track mountain bike trail successfully…the other (ahem, me) slid down part of the way on shoes and booty. I highly recommend taking the nice wide trail that was originally for wagons instead.

Ok, even on level ground I managed to accomplish a slow motion fall on some loose rocks in which the hubs reached out to save the camera since I bounce and the camera does not! It was rather comical…even now when I am feeling the strained ankle muscles and sore booty I can giggle. It’s not a hike unless I take some sort of fall or wrong turn but that’s what makes things fun right?

Check out the history of the trail here. We will do this one again this year but a one way trip to the other end. So eager to see what’s on the other side of the mountain!

Enjoy the views!

0 Comment

  1. The entire Oat Hill Mine Road is pretty interesting and there are some neat sections past Holm’s Place en route to over by Aetna Springs. However, the best thing to do is set up a shuttle and start hiking from the Robert Louis Stevenson SP trailhead on the Table Rock Trail, then the Palisades Trail, then head down Oat Hill Mine Road. Then dinner at the pizza place at the trailhead. I would say this combination is one of the two of the two or three best hikes in the wine country. Best done in spring, with green grass, lots of wildflowers and some surprisingly good waterfalls!

    1. I definitely want to do the entire trail, probably in the fall when the weather is cooler again. The views are definitely amazing and would love to see the waterfalls so we might have to do this one a few more times to see everything! Unfortunately I can’t have pizza but it smelled delicious! We went to Buster’s BBQ in Calistoga instead to try it out…protein was great after a good hike! Thanks for the tips on the trail! It’s will be on our list of trails to hike again. 🙂

  2. I’ve heard about this trail numerous times but have never done it. Sounds like the 9 mile one way is the way to go. Thanks for sharing this hike, history, and pictures.

    1. Would definitely recommend this hike! It would probably be hot during the summer even with the shady parts but the views are so worth it!

  3. Looks like a beautiful (if somewhat bumpy) trail! But then the bumps are what keeps things interesting I suppose 🙂

    1. It was beautiful! And yes, it was sort of nice getting back on smoother ground…like when you get off a boat and get your land legs back =)

Don't keep your thoughts to yourself! Leave a reply: