A Press Democrat Blog


A blog about Bay Area hiking…. mostly

Dogs, hikes, trees, and miscellany

Monday’s snow aside (yes, Virginia, it did snow in Sonoma County – see photos here), the hiking trails around the North Bay are getting crowded these days. No surprise, given the early mustard blooms and other things starting to come to life. In contrast from some of my mega-hikes of recent years, I’m doing quite a bit of smaller hikes, giving me a chance to explore some city and county parks around the region and often combine two or three… Read More »

On the western side of Napa

Looking for an easily accessible urban park with a great view of Napa? That would be Westwood Hills Park, a very small diamond in the rough that rests on the far western edge of town. It includes a short, but semi-steep, trail up to a ridge-line route where there are 360-degree views of the Napa Valley. On the way to the meandering and gnarled oaks that make great climbing spots are a few other sights worth checking out, including a… Read More »

Napa’s people-powered park

  A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of exploring Napa’s Skyline Wilderness Park, a true diamond in plain sight that often gets overlooked. It was a terrific hike full of wildflowers and great views. Turns out it’s a fascinating park based on its geology and terrain, and also somewhat of a model in its organizational structure. Basically, local folks created it, local folks run it, and local folks will decide its future. So when you hear about… Read More »

A river ran through it

With rain dampening everything last week, it looked like the chance to do much hiking this past weekend would be a washout. But I was hopeful that I would get a chance to use some of my hardly-used rain gear out in the woods somewhere. So I was really heartened when the person organizing the hike I had planned on going sent out a “rain or shine, hell or high water” type of note vowing to trek through the elements… Read More »

Poison oak? Whatever.

Skyline Wilderness Park, Napa Back in Napa. This time it was a park on what seemed like the outskirts of the actual town. It was next to some fairgrounds area where it looked like a Renaissance Festival of some sort was occurring. I went to one of those years ago because I got free tickets and I vaguely remember the jousting, the beer and the people walking around talking to each other in medieval accents. Not really my scene. Anyway,… Read More »

Only two people got lost

Zim Zim Falls, Knoxville State Ranch Wildlife Area, Knoxille, Napa County Quite a day. There’s a 100-foot-tall waterfall that’s the central attraction of this hike but just getting to it was a challenge. We could see it from a ridge but there was no clear way to get to it. So a few of our group members, including yours truly, tried the head-straight-toward-it-and-ignore-the-brush-trees-rocks-in-the-path approach. A bit crazy to reach the base of the falls but worthwhile. Had lunch at the… Read More »

A wine-less day in Napa

Cold Canyon Trail, Lake Berryessa, Napa I’m in Napa! First time. Well, not the fancy wine-swirling town but a big lake in Napa County. Looks a lot like some of the lakes and hills around the Southeast. A difficult hike – not overly long, maybe 4-5 miles or so – but a lot of open ground meant little shade. Overall, a rigorous trail. I had to get back home by mid-afternoon to take care of something so I hoofed it… Read More »