Hike Date: September 9, 2012
Distance: ~ 6 miles
Trail(s): River to Ridge Trail, Bay Area Ridge Trail, Skyline Trail, Buckeye Trail
Where’s it at? Skyline Wilderness Park near Imola in SE Napa


Skyline Wilderness Park in southeast Napa offers hiking, disc golfing, equestrian, camping and archery activities, and surely I’m missing something! There’s a lot to do crammed into this nice little park. I’ve been here a lot over the years, initially for disc golfing (it has a great course!), and more recently to do some of the many hiking trails that it has to offers. It really does offer a good diversity in terms of ecology, views, difficulty levels and distances. Even the trails themselves range widely.

The frugal person that I am decided to try the only free way to gain access to the park that I’ve discovered…the River to Ridge Trail. For this I parked in Kennedy park (which also has the napa River Trail trailhead on it’s southern-more end) for free. You start hiking eastward back toward the highway and in fact need to cross the highway at the stoplight to start your progress into the park. The trail starts out fairly narrow with fencing on both sides. The Napa Hospital can be seen to the north, and in fact, on this trip I heard lots of yelling coming from within it’s depths. Luckily there are multiple levels of tall barbed wire fencing and what almost appeared to even be an electrical fence keeping the residents safely inside.

When you come out to a junction with Lake Marie Road and Skyline Trail you can make your decision on which way to go. The Lake Marie road is a good choice if that lake is your destination, but I prefer to take the southern Bay Area Ridge Trail to gain some decent views and get a decent uphill workout going. From there you can turn this into a very long hike or a short loop as you please. One thing I love about Skyline Wilderness park are all the trail choices; you can hardly walk a half mile without seeing one or two other trail options, many of which are nice loop trails.

This was a great hike for getting into the park for free. I do personally tend to like the other side of the park better and will probably continue to pay, park and head east from within the park for future hikes. One of the really great ones is to do Sugarloaf Peak from Thatcher Rim Rock Trail/Manzanita Trail and then make a loop out of it by passing Marie Lake and taking the Marie Cree trail back to your car.

If you haven’t tried hiking in Skyline Wilderness Park yet, get out there and try it. It is a great place to spend the day taking in views and getting some sunshine and exercise.

Photos from Hiking the River to Ridge Trail (click to enlarge)

Hiking the River to Ridge Trail in Napa Hiking the River to Ridge Trail in Napa Hiking the River to Ridge Trail in Napa
Hiking the River to Ridge Trail in Napa Hiking the River to Ridge Trail in Napa Hiking the River to Ridge Trail in Napa
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Hiking the River to Ridge Trail in Napa Hiking the River to Ridge Trail in Napa Hiking the River to Ridge Trail in Napa


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