Napa-Sonoma: Dry Creek-Trinity-Cavedale-Mt Veeder

Sunday, June 22, 2014

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This hilly route begins in Napa with a gentle run along the valley on lower Dry Creek Rd to the steep climb up and over the ridge into Sonoma County on upper Dry Creek and Trinity Rd. It drops down into the Valley of the Moon to Glen Ellen before tackling the wicked climb back over the ridge on Cavedale Rd to Trinity. It winds down on Dry Creek Rd back into Napa for the climb up Mt Veeder Rd. The ride finishes up with a fun downhill run from Mt Veeder to Redwood Rd.

We begin from the Park & Ride on Solano Ave and head west on Redwood Rd.

Dry Creek Rd runs NW along the residential outskirts of Napa out through the vineyards along the valley floor for the first 2.5 miles.

The lower section of Dry Creek Rd continues with a couple of rolling climbs through a scattering of country homes nestled in the woods. As you near the top, watch for the T-Rex and other dinosaurs roaming the woodlands.

Dry Creek Rd drops down into the canyon on gentle rolling terrain along Dry Creek. The road goes through a small ranching community set alongside dense forest greens.

At the Oakville Grade junction, Dry Creek continues west for the next 1.1 flat miles to the narrow one lane bridge crossing over Dry Creek.

The road dramatically kicks up after the creek crossing; it winds up through the gorgeous shaded woodlands for 1.6 miles. It’s a steep steady climb with an average grade of 10.3% and steep pitches of 13-16%!

Dry Creek Rd crosses over into Sonoma County and becomes Trinity Rd on the climb up to Thomas LaTour Vineyard.

Trinity Rd continues on gentle terrain through the dense woodlands to the junction at Cavedale Rd.

Trinity Rd takes us on a steep twisty descent into Sonoma Valley aka Valley of the Moon. The turn on CA-12 E leads us onto Arnold Dr to the town of Glen Ellen.

We stop for lunch at the Glen Ellen Village Market.

We stay on Arnold Dr and continue south on the flats through the valley. 

Agua Caliente cuts across the valley onto CA-12 W to Cavedale Rd.

Cavedale Rd is a less traveled old rough road that wickedly climbs up 5 miles from the valley to the top of the ridge back to Trinity Rd. It’s a stair-step climb on a narrow single lane road with an average grade of 7.7% and very steep pitches of 12-16%!

The first mile of Cavedale goes up along Hooker Canyon with minimal shade to Petroni Vineyard.

The road continues to snake in and out of the trees up along the canyon with occasional glimpses of the open valley and mountains.

At around mile 26.4, the road opens up along the ridge with phenomenal vistas!


Cavedale rounds the switchback with gorgeous valley views up to a short false flat section.

Take a minute to enjoy the stunning views of the mountain terraced vineyards-WOW!



Cavedale seems relentless as it continues to climb with steep grades for the next mile or so. Residential mailboxes and addresses along the side of the road indicate the number of hidden homes tucked away in the woods.

The road eventually levels out for a short 0.6 mile through the woods pass Sky Vineyards and an old Fire Station before dropping down to the next climb.

Cavedale climbs for another 0.6 mile before swiftly dropping to the T intersection at Trinity Rd.

We head NE on Trinity for the gentle climb to the summit before crossing back into Napa County on Dry Creek Rd. The descent on Dry Creek Rd is fairly technical with many twisty tight turns-use caution!

Dry Creek Rd leads us to Mt Veeder Rd; we’re back to climbing again-800′ in 4 miles. The first mile after the creek crossing is the steepest section with an average grade of 7.7%, pitches of 11-13% and full sun exposure!

The road leads under a canopy of trees to a short false flat section before tilting back up for the next 0.8 miles with an average grade of 7.2%.

At the false summit, Mt Veeder Rd continues for the next 2.1 miles on gentle rolling terrain through the woodlands and hillside vineyards up to the summit at Wing Canyon Vineyard.

Enjoy the mountain top views!

The descent on Mt Veeder Rd down to Pickle Canyon is fast with sweet little turns.

Near the bottom of the hill, at the red barn house the road changes to Redwood. It continues descending along Redwood Creek on very smooth pavement through the vineyards around Redwood Canyon.

Redwood Rd spills out into the residential neighborhoods and leads us back to the Park & Ride lot on Solano Ave.

Are you looking for a challenging route that won’t have you out from dawn to dusk? This ride is packed with steep climbs along some of the quiet beautiful back roads around Napa and Sonoma counties. Try it out-bring your climbing legs and low gears!

Garmin Stats:
50.47 Miles with 5315′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2135′
Max grade: 16%
Terrain: Extremely hilly with steep climbs

Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from 57F in the morning to an afternoon high of 91F. SW winds with 72% humidity

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile


Follow this route for today’s ride:



One Comment

  1. Thanks so much for the great ride report! I’m planning a cycle-camping trip across California this summer, and this helped greatly! Cheers!

    You’re welcome! Have fun planning your trip-the Bay Area is great for cycling! Nancy


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