Napa: Silverado Trail-Old Lawley Toll-Franz Valley

Saturday, October 10, 2015

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Ride #4-Ride along the beautiful Napa Valley vineyards & wineries on Silverado Trail before heading north for a quiet back road climb up Old Lawley Toll Rd. Descend Hwy 29 and head west on CA-128 into Knights Valley and Franz Valley. Climb along Franz Valley Rd to Chalk Mountain and descend the mountain for a run along Porter Creek and Petrified Forest Rd. Return south on Hwy 29 back to St Helena.

Exit the park onto Pope St.

Head along the gorgeous Napa Valley vineyards and wineries on Silverado Trail for ten flat-rolling miles to its north end at Calistoga.

Continue north on Hwy 29 for 1.4 mile through the upper valley with marvelous views of the valley vineyards and the Mayacamas Mountains.

The turn on Old Lawley Toll Rd aka Lawley Rd/Old Toll Rd is a wonderful detour that takes you off Hwy 29 onto a quiet less traveled single lane back road. It rises up the hillside beneath Mt St Helena and reconnects to Hwy 29 after 3.4 miles. The first flat mile runs through the scenic vineyards and small ranch community along Jericho Canyon.

The road kicks up on the switchback at Jericho Canyon Vineyard for the next 2.4 tranquil miles with an average grade of 7.7% and steep pitches of 10-12%. The road winds up through the canyon with magnificent views of the hillside vineyards, dense forests and craggy buttresses known as The Palisades.

Old Lawley Toll Rd continues snaking up the mountain under the shade of the woodlands to an old beautiful well preserved log cabin.

The road winds its way up the canyon to Hwy 29 with superb scenery-hillside vineyards and grand mountain views!

The smooth fast descent on Hwy 29 leads you back down into Calistoga onto Tubbs Ln towards Bennet Ln.

Bennett Ln is a gorgeous 2 mile stretch of road that winds through the beautiful vineyards around the valley floor along the foothills of Mount St Helena with virtually no traffic.

Exit Bennett Ln onto CA-128 W; the road travels through the scenic ranches, wineries and valley vineyards before tilting up for a short climb.

The shaded climb up to the Sonoma County line is 0.8 mile with an average grade of 5%.

CA-128 rolls down into Knights Valley; a beautiful wine region with a few vineyards, rural ranches and open meadows and grand views of Mt St Helena and its other mountain peaks.

The turn on Franz Valley Rd takes you through the flat open pastoral valley meadows and vineyards for the first few miles.

Franz Valley Rd rounds the valley and heads south into Franz Valley; the road gently winds up through the woodlands on gentle rolling terrain with gradient ranges of 3-5% to a small residential community with hillside vineyards around the lower mountain at Devils Kitchen.

Franz Valley Rd becomes a single narrow road as it steadily winds up under the gorgeous woodlands to the mountain top vineyard at the summit of Chalk Mountain. It’s a 1.4 mile climb with an average grade of 7% and steep section with pitches of 9-12%.

The road levels out for a short section before tilting up to the summit top vineyards.

Enjoy the mountain views!

Franz valley Rd drops down from the mountain to the wildlife preserve at Safari West on Porter Creek Rd. Continue east on Porter Creek Rd; the rolling terrain winds along Porter Creek to Petrified Forest Rd.

Petrified Forest Rd continues to roll along the creek to a high point before dropping down for a sweeping descent into Calistoga.

Turn right and head SE out of Calistoga on CA-128 E/Hwy 29 for 9.4 flat scenic miles back to St Helena; this road goes along the west side of Napa Valley with wonderful views of the valley vineyards and estate wineries!

This is another fantastic ride around the less traveled back roads around Napa County! The scenic climbs up Old Lawley Toll Rd and Franz Valley are both followed by fun sweeping descents on Hwy 29 and Petrified Forest Rd-it’s equally fast too-use caution!

Garmin Stats:
51.20 Miles with 3510′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1498′
Max grade: 12%
Terrain: Moderately hilly

Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to the low 80’s with NW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Old Lawley Franz Valley

Follow this route for today’s ride:



  1. Hello Nancy ! Maydene and I certainly enjoyed seeing this one tonight. This will be probably the first tour we take out of all the ones we’ve seen. Thank you for sharing this with us ! From Michael and Maydene


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