Sunday, October 19, 2014
Today’s scenic autumn ride explores the beauty back roads around Napa County. It begins with a quiet climb up Mt Veeder followed by a descent along Dry Creek Rd. The route continues south for a gorgeous jaunt around the vineyards in the Carneros wine region from Thompson Ave to Congress Valley and Duhig to Las Amigas. It meanders along the Bay Trail through the vineyards along Stanly Cross Rd and Stanly Ln. The ride heads east across the Napa River for a challenging steep climb up to the summit of Wild Horse Valley. The route cuts through Napa on Lincoln Ave and returns to the start/finish via the bike trail along the NWP RR tracks
We head west on Redwood Rd for 2 miles through the residential neighborhoods towards Browns Valley Rd.
Redwood Rd exits town and continues for 2.4 miles through the wooded Redwood Canyon; this road follows the curvatures of the currently dry Redwood Creek. This is a quiet back road with a few country homes, ranches and vineyards tucked away along the lower canyon.
Mt Veeder Rd begins where Redwood Rd veers to the west; it’s 4.2 miles to the summit at Wing Canyon Vineyards. This splendid country back road winds its way up through the wooded Pickle Canyon with fabulous views of the hillside vineyards and dense green forests.
The stair step ascent on Mt Veeder Rd begins with 1.6 mile of rolling terrain up to Popeye and Olive’s wooden boat.
The next 1.5 miles has gentle 3-6% grades to the yellow farm house at mile marker 2.75.
From mile marker 2.75, the road kicks up to steeper grades of 9-10% for the next 0.8 mile to the Mount Veeder Winery sign.
From this point, the road tilts for next 3/10th of a mile to the summit with steep grades of 11-12%! You’re near the top when you see the 2300 marker on the road.
Enjoy the summit views of the canyons below and the mountains above!
The descent on Mt Veeder Rd is on very poor pavement with two little humps followed by a twisty bumpy downhill to Dry Creek Rd.
We continue on Dry Creek Rd for the next 9.5 miles; the rolling descent winds down the canyon along the creek through the scattered horse ranches and farm houses.
The road continues up through the woods with a 4% half mile climb up towards a residential community and quickly exits out to Napa Valley.
The three-mile stretch along the valley has superb views of the surrounding mountains and the acres and acres of vines.
We return to Redwood Rd and ride through the city streets of Napa to Browns Valley for our lunch stop at Browns Valley Market.
The post lunch route begins with a short climb up Thompson Rd out to Congress Valley; it’s 0.7 mile with an average grade of 3.6%.
We head west on Congress Valley Rd to Buhman Rd; these roads cuts across Carneros Valley with fabulous views of the hillside vineyards.
The climb on Henry Rd is 0.5 mile with an average grade of 4.8%; this road drops into the valley to the wineries and vineyards along Dealy Rd.
We cross the Old Sonoma Bridge to CA-12 and continue through Carneros Valley on Duhig Rd. The climb up Duhig Rd towards Domaine Carneros is 0.4 mile with an average grade of 5.7%.
The road drops into the valley with magnificent views of the hillside vineyards dressed in autumn colors-WOW!
Las Amigas Rd jogs around the gorgeous wineries and vineyards in the Carneros wine region-the fall colors are stunning!
We continue on Cuttings Wharf Rd and take the scenic bike path through the vineyards along the Bay Trail on Stanly Cross Rd and Stanly Ln out to CA-12.
Stanly Ln crosses over CA-12 onto Golden Gate Dr; this frontage road parallels Hwy 29 to Imola Ave.
Imola Ave is a busy thoroughfare; it crosses over the Napa River from west Napa to east side towards Napa State Hospital. The road ends at Skyline Wilderness Park and name changes to 4th Ave.
4th Ave jogs around the outskirt of Napa through the scattered country homes and ranches to Coombsville Rd.
We head east on Coombsville Rd for 0.4 mile before it name changes to Wild Horse Valley Rd.
Wild Horse Valley Rd climbs up through the country estate homes and ranches to Shadybrook Ln; it’s 0.7 mile with an average grade of 6.6%.
Wild Horse Valley Rd becomes a narrow single lane road at the “not a through road” sign. The climb is 1.7 miles with an average grade of 11.2%. The first 0.6 mile has steep gradient ranges of 16-20% followed by lesser 10-12% grades up to the steel guardrail.
Stop for a moment and enjoy the spectacular Napa Valley views!
The climbing doesn’t let up; it continues winding up the valley with double digit grades of 10-14% for the next 1.1 mile up to the summit near Lake Madigan.
The road dead ends to a private road owned by the City of Vallejo. You can catch a glimpse of the lake and its surrounding landscape.
We turn around and descend Wild Horse Valley; it’s a steep twisty drop back down onto Coombsville Rd-use caution!
Third Ave takes us north through the scenic wineries and vineyards around the east valley. ut goes along the Napa valley Country Club to Olive Hill Ln.
Olive Hill Ln goes around a upscale residential neighborhood to Hagen Rd.
We head west on Hagen Rd to Silverado Trail; look out for the owl and pug sculptures at For Animals’ Sake Resort-a fancy pet care facility in the country.
We take Silverado Trail to Lincoln Ave and return to Solano Ave along the bike trail through Napa; it parallels the NWP RR tracks with a bridge crossing over Hwy 29.
This is a fantastic autumn ride around the back roads in Napa County. It’s a great time to see the change of colors around the vineyards! It’s a wonderful alternative to riding along the usual Silverado Trail and Hwy 29.