Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Ride #2-This ride takes you through Conn Valley out to the northern tip of Lake Hennessey followed by an out & back climb up Greenfield Rd. Continue up Howell Mountain on Old Howell Mountain/Howell Mountain Rd into the town of Angwin. Drop down into Pope Valley for a return climb up Howell Mountain on Ink Grade and White Cottage Rds. Plunge into Napa Valley on Deer Park Rd for the return to St Helena.
Begin ride from John Meily Park in St Helena.
Cut across the valley on Pope St to Silverado Trail.
Turn right onto Old Howell Mountain Rd; the road travels under the shaded woodlands for 0.6 mile with gradient ranges of 5-8% up to the Y junction at Conn Valley Rd.
Turn right onto Conn Valley Rd for an out & back roll through Conn Valley to Lake Hennessey. Conn Valley Rd gently rolls down and up to a high point before dropping down along Conn Creek towards the Conn Valley vineyards and wineries.
The gentle rolling terrain continues through Conn Valley along Conn Creek.
Conn Valley Rd crosses over Conn Creek as it leads you along the north shore of Lake Hennessey to the end of the road.
Enjoy the lake side views!
Retrace your steps back along Conn Valley to Greenfield Rd.
Greenfield Rd is another out & back segment of this route; it’s 1.5 mile with an average grade of 6.3%. The road climbs up through the oak woodland for the first half mile with steep grades of 13-16%.
The road continues to wind up the hill with open views of Lake Hennessey and the surrounding forests.
Greenfield Rd levels out for a short bit as it rolls through a residential hillside community.
The road snakes up and around the back ridge for another half mile with gorgeous views of Conn Valley.
Turn around at mile marker 1.50-the road splits onto private property. Descend Greenfield back onto Conn Valley Rd and return through Conn Valley Rd to Old Howell Mountain Rd.
Enjoy the gorgeous valley views!
Turn right onto Old Howell Mountain Rd; this quiet less traveled back road climbs up 3.1 miles to the junction at Four Corners with an average grade of 5% and steep pitches of 10-12%.
The road eases up a bit as you make your way up along the back side of the ridge; 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, 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!
Stop at the Pope Valley Market:
Pope Valley Rd takes you along Pope Valley through the scenic vineyards and wineries.
Ink Grade Rd is a fabulous less traveled back road that climbs up towards Howell Mountain on a single lane with literally no traffic. The road starts off with a half mile climb with an average grade of 6.3%; it winds up along the hillside with gorgeous mountain and woodlands vistas.
Ink Grade Rd wiggles up along the ridge for the next 1.1 rolling miles through the woodlands to the narrow switchback over Burton Creek.
The road slightly kicks up again and continues to steadily climb for the next 2.5 miles with an average grade of 5.9%. It winds up long the open hillside vineyards and under the woodlands to the hillside orchard.
The leafy woodlands give way to towering mixed conifers as you continue up the narrow road between the guardrail and mossy rock walls.
Ink Grade Rd levels out as you exit the woods out to a small clearing towards White Cottage Rd.
The climbing isn’t quite over just yet, the turn onto White Cottage Rd has a short 3/10th of a mile pitch before descending Angwin‘s residential neighborhoods out to the estate vineyards near Four Corners. If you look to the west for a split second, you can see that the road is still pretty high up the mountain at around 1600’!
At Four Corners, hang a right onto Deer Park Rd; this road quickly plunges down Howell Mountain to Silverado Trail on super smooth pavement-use caution!
The flats on Silverado Trail lead you back into St Helena on Pope St.
This is a wonderful route through some of the beautiful country back roads around Napa County! You’ll enjoy the roll along Conn Valley to Lake Hennessey and the beautiful quiet climbs up Greenfield, Howell Mountain and Ink Grade!
38.06 Miles with 4111′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1873′
Max grade: 16%
Terrain: Extremely hilly
Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the mid 80’s with SW winds.
Follow this route for today’s ride: