Hike Date: February 23, 2013
Distance: ~ 10 miles
Trail(s): Aetna Springs Rd., Oat Hill Mine Trail, other trails
Where’s it at? Pope Valley to Wildlake Ranch in Angwin, CA


This was a great group hike with about maybe 18-20 hikers that I signed up for with the Napa Land Trust in late winter. We met in Angwin and broke into two groups that would each hike in opposite directions, swap cars, and meet back in Angwin at the end. I opted into the group that drove to the Pope Valley Aetna Springs Trailhead and hiked south. I was told this was the more challenging direction but really chose it thinking I’d get and see more sunshine.

The trailhead at Aetna Springs would be a little hard to find and I don’t believe it is open to the public but don’t quote me on that. The trail runs through some private land so it is important to stay on the trail, and the end of this hike was definitely on a preserve of the Napa Land Trust. (but you shouldn’t be hiking off trails anyway!) If I understand correctly, members or participants of guided hikes in the past are welcome, with advanced notice of entry.

It was about a 10 mile hike all said and done with a fairly long lunch break within Duff Ranch. The scenery on this hike was gorgeous. Initially you get some really nice bluffs (the backside of the palisades) with several large caves and a deep gorge that you hike around. Then you’re on ridges for a while with some great views of both Pope Valley and Northern Napa Valley. And while you get fairly close to the old Oat Hill Mine, and are traveling on what were probably wagon trails once upon a time, you don’t actually get into the mine at all.

Some wildflowers were starting to bloom but moreso the stage was being set for what is probably a gorgeous bloom a month later in the year. Other than birds we didn’t see too much wildlife on this particular hike but I’m sure there’s plenty of deer, turkey, etc. up in this pretty vast wild area. At the end of the hike (or beginning, depending on your direction) you get a view of Wildlake and the ranch there.

If you get a chance sign up for one of these with the Land Trust or take the Oat Hill Mine Trail or Palisades Trail. You won’t be disappointed.

Photos from a Hike from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake (click to enlarge)

Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County
Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County
http://timsartoris.com/blog/hiking-aetna-springs-to-wild-lake-in-napa http://timsartoris.com/blog/hiking-aetna-springs-to-wild-lake-in-napa http://timsartoris.com/blog/hiking-aetna-springs-to-wild-lake-in-napa
http://timsartoris.com/blog/hiking-aetna-springs-to-wild-lake-in-napa http://timsartoris.com/blog/hiking-aetna-springs-to-wild-lake-in-napa http://timsartoris.com/blog/hiking-aetna-springs-to-wild-lake-in-napa
Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County
Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County

Directions to Aetna Springs Trailhead


View Hiking from Aetna Springs to Wild Lake through Napa County in a larger map

Weather at Pope Valley, CA

Written on February 23rd, 2013 in Hiking, The Whole Thing
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