Hike Date: April 26, 2014
Distance: ~ 10.6 miles
Trail(s): Bay Area Ridge Trail, Table Rock Trail, Palisades Trail, Oat Hill Mine Road
Where’s it at? East of Calistoga, CA


The hikes above Calistoga on the north and eastern borders are some of the best in the north San Francisco bay area, offering a number of options to suit just about every hiker, each one full of excellent views of the Napa Valley and beyond. From the same FREE parking lot in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park you can hike to the top of Mount Saint Helena or head the opposite direction for the Table Rock Trail, Palisades Trail and even continue on to the Oat Hill Mine Road/Trail which is also part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The Table Rock Trail itself offers a number of options from short distance to fairly long out and back or one way shuttled hikes.

I’ve hiked Mount Saint Helena a couple times and this was my third visit to Table Rock and second visit on this section of the Oat Hill Mine Road. After this one I’ve hiked all the trails in the area that I’m aware of, and happy to have done them. These are some trails that i will revisit a lot, they really are great hikes.

On this visit we left one car at the Oat Hill Mind Trailhead and then headed up to park at Robert Louis Stevenson Park’s parking lot. From there you head northeast on the Table Rock Trail which gets most of its climbing done right at the very start with a half mile of uphill trekking. Coming over the high point, which has a great view northward, you begin descending and quickly come upon the rock mazes, for lack of better word, which have been the same way for at least a few years now. I’m not sure of the origin of these but I’ve seen a similar maze on the Land’s End Trail. You head further down for a short while before climbing up to Table Rock which offers your first of many great views into Napa Valley. A trail sign here marks the beginning of the Palisades Trail.

The palisades trail is the best part of this hike as you wind your way along the western edge of the ridge of basalt rock with hoodoos. This is the most challenging part of the hike but the views are excellent. The trail in many steep areas has rock staircases that are really superb in terms of footing and even aesthetics. In one spot you have to climb over or under a massive fallen tree. In some areas there is a ton of moss under a dense tree canopy. In other areas you are on a very narrow trail with steep grassy hillsides on your right full of wildflowers in spring. One thing is certain, there is a LOT of poison oak on this hike and as I type this I am thinking about my itchy legs…but holding strong against the urge to scratch…

After winding along the entire length of the palisades you come to Holms Homestead and shortly after the junction with the Oat Hill Mine road / Bay Area Ridge Trail. If you head left you really can tell this was originally a wagon trail with deep ruts but we turned right to head back to the trailhead in Calistoga where we’d parked the first car.

This is an epic hike and a must do in the north bay. Almost the entire 10.6 miles is technical in terms of footing…you really start to feel that by the time you reach the Oat Hill Mine Rd. section. You have to consciously stop and “smell the roses” and take in the scenery every once in a while because most of the time you’ll be watching every step’s placement. I really enjoyed this hike and I’m sure you will too!

Photos from Hike on the Palisades Trail (click to enlarge)

Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.
Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.
http://timsartoris.com/blog/palisades-trail-hike-in-calistoga http://timsartoris.com/blog/palisades-trail-hike-in-calistoga http://timsartoris.com/blog/palisades-trail-hike-in-calistoga
http://timsartoris.com/blog/palisades-trail-hike-in-calistoga http://timsartoris.com/blog/palisades-trail-hike-in-calistoga http://timsartoris.com/blog/palisades-trail-hike-in-calistoga
Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.
Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.
Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.
Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.
Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.
Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.
Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.
Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd. Hike to Table Rock and the Palisades Trail from Mount Saint Helena to Oat Hill Mine Rd.

Directions to Trailheads for Palisade Trail


View Palisades Trail Hike in a larger map

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