Sunday, August 17, 2014
Today’s route goes along the picturesque Napa Valley on Silverado Trail to the climb up Howell Mountain Rd. It drops into Pope Valley for a gentle run along Chiles Pope Valley Rd to Lower Chiles Valley. The ride continues on Sage Canyon Rd for the jaunt along Lake Hennessey followed by a stop at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville.
We cross over Hwy 29 on Trower Ave and our way out of town through the residential neighborhoods on Jefferson and El Centro.
Big Ranch Rd takes us through the gorgeous vineyards along the south end of Napa Valley with great views of the Vaca Mountains in the back ground!
Oak Knoll Rd cuts through the valley floor to Silverado Trail.
We head north on Silverado Trail for the next 13.4 scenic rolling miles to Howell Mountain Rd; the flat to rolling miles take us pass the many estate wineries and beautiful vineyards around the picturesque Napa Valley. Napa Valley is sandwiched between the Sonoma Mountains to the west and Vaca Mountains to the east-enjoy the views! Weekend traffic can get a bit heavy on this road but no worries; it’s relatively safe with a wide shoulder area to ride on.
Howell Mountain Rd is a quiet less traveled back road that climbs up to the junction at Four Corners; it’s 4.4 miles with an average grade of 5% and steep pitches of 10-12%. The climb begins on a two lane road under the shade of the woodlands through a small scattered residential community.
The road exits out from the trees to the lower ridge at Big Rock Rd with views of the surrounding hillside vineyards.
At the Conn Valley junction, Howell Mountain Rd becomes a single lane road as it winds its way up the mountain.
The road eases up a bit as we make our way up along the back side of the ridge to Four Corners; take a moment to enjoy the surrounding dense green forests and look back for a sec to see the amazing valley views from behind!
At Four Corners, we continue north on Howell Mountain Rd; the climb is 0.9 mile with an average grade of 5.5%.
Howell Mountain Rd continues to climb for another 1.4 miles to the summit at Ink Grade Rd with an average grade of 3.8%. The twisty descent on Howell Mountain Rd down to Pope Valley is actually pretty fun; you can pick up quite a bit of speed on the smooth pavement-use caution!
Lunch stop at the Pope Valley Market:
We exit Pope Valley and head SE on Chiles Pope Valley Rd for the next 8.6 miles; the first couple of miles goes along the valley through a ranching community with views of the open meadows and hillside vineyards.
After passing Pope Canyon Rd, the road kicks up for half a mile with an average grade of 6.1%; it takes us up and over to Chiles Valley.
Chiles Pope Valley Rd continues on gentle rolling terrain for the next 6 miles with fabulous views of the open meadows, valley vineyards, olive groves and mountain ridge!
The short descent on Chiles Pope Valley Rd leads us to the next turn onto Lower Chiles Valley Rd. The rolling climbs on this quiet back road take us through Lower Chiles Valley with gorgeous views of the open valley and acreage vineyards to CA-128 W/Sage Canyon Rd.
Sage Canyon Rd gently winds down through the canyon along Sage Creek to Lake Hennessey.
We stay on CA-128 W/Sage Canyon Rd for the leisurely jaunt along the south side of the lake to Silverado Trail.
The 5.5 flat miles on Silverado Trail south takes us back through the spectacular vineyards and wineries around Napa Valley!
Yountville Cross Rd cuts across the valley into the town of Yountville.
This ride deserves a stop at the Bouchon Bakery; there are usually long lines on weekends-give yourself a treat, it’s a worthwhile wait!
We exit Yountville on Washington St-look around for the artsy sculptures along the way.
We cross Hwy 101 on California St and take Solano Ave back to the Park & Ride lot.
Our ride coincided with the Tour of Napa Valley; we got free photo ops from riding along Silverado Trail with many of the event riders.
This is a scenic ride through the world-famous Napa Valley and along some of the quiet less traveled back roads around Napa County. Get on out there and give it a try-it’s a wonderful way to spend a day! The stop at the Bouchon Bakery is a must!
63 Miles with 3350′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1826′
Max grade: 12%
Terrain: Flat to rolling with one long climb
Weather: Overcast morning skies giving way to brilliant sunshine. Temps ranges from the mid 50’s to the high 90’s. NW winds > SW winds with 100% humidity
Follow this route for today’s ride: