Napa: Silverado-Howell Mountain-Crystal Springs-Franz Valley-Ida Clayton

Saturday, June 18, 2016

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This ride travels north through the gorgeous Napa Valley vineyards and wineries from Yountville up to Calistoga with a climb up Howell Mountain. It crosses into Sonoma County for a scenic loop around Franz and Knights Valleys followed by a quiet remote out & back climb up Ida Clayton Rd. Continue south through Napa Valley for the return to Yountville.

Begin this ride from Yountville Park.

Exit town on Yountville Cross Rd; the road cuts across the Napa Valley vineyards to Silverado Trail.

Turn left onto Silverado Trail, the flat rolling terrain travels north along the gorgeous valley vineyards and wineries with expansive views of the Sonoma Mountains to the west.

Turn right onto 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.

Go left to stay on Howell Mountain Rd; this quiet less traveled back road climbs 3.1 miles up 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. Enjoy the views!

At the junction, turn left onto Deer Park Rd for a swift sweeping descent to Sanitarium Rd. Sanitarium continues downhill past the Deer Park Fire Dept and St Helena Hospital.

Make a sharp right onto Crystal Springs Rd, the narrow single lane road rolls along under a beautiful canopy of trees along Bell Creek before spilling out into the open valley to Silverado Trail.

Head north on Silverado Trail for the next 5.8 miles, it continues along the gorgeous valley vineyards towards Calistoga.

Enjoy the splendid valley views!

The road tilts up for a short climb as it rounds the valley to its north end at Lincoln Ave and Hwy 29.

Turn left on Lincoln Ave into the town of Calistoga.

Continue north on Hwy 128 W to Petrified Forest Rd, the road leads up to Franz Valley School Rd.

Franz Valley School Rd stretches 4.4 miles from Napa County into Sonoma County, it begins with a gentle 0.9-mile long climb past the hillside vineyards up to the tennis courts.

From there, the road kicks up for the next mile to the county line with grades of 7-10%.

The road drops into Sonoma County with a rolling descent through Franz Valley.

Franz Valley School Rd continues along the valley through the woodland around a scattered rural community.

The road comes to a T junction at Franz Valley Rd.

Turn right onto Franz Valley Rd, the rolling descent takes you north along Franz Creek towards Knights Valley.

The road jogs slightly left on Spencer Ln as it continues out through the oak-studded vineyards around Knights Valley. Franz Valley Rd cuts across the valley to Hwy 128 with splendid views of Mt St Helena in the background.

Turn left on Hwy 128 W for the out & back climb up Ida Clayton Rd.

Ida Clayton Rd is a narrow single lane road that winds up 8 miles to the county line where the pavement ends and the road name changes to Western Mine Rd. The first 0.3-mile takes you across a cattle guard past Peter Micheal Winery.

At the road split, Ida Clayton tilts up for a 3.6 mile climb up to the hilltop vineyards at 2265 feet. The road winds up around the mountain with an average grade of 9% and steep pitches of 11-13%!

The road climbs up along a lower ridge with stunning views of Mt St Helena and its surrounding valleys and canyons!

Ida Clayton climbs up through the scattered pines and dry brush towards the upper valley vineyards.

The road continues ascending with grand views of Mt St Helena and the mountain vineyards!

The road reaches a high point at the vineyard gate and water tanks.

Ida Clayton continues on flat rolling terrain with dappled sunlight under the gorgeous dense canopy of trees.

The road winds around the beautiful woodlands with rolling pitches of 7-9% grades.

The pavement comes to an end at the county line at 2702 feet.

Turn around and descend Ida Clayton Rd to Hwy 128.

Head east on Hwy 128 through Knights Valley for the return to Calistoga.

The climb up the north side of CA-128 to the Napa County line is 0.9-mile with an average grade of 5%. It begins at mile marker 23.86 to the summit at mile marker 24.76.

CA-128 E drops back down into Calistoga.

The road travels through the vineyards along the west side of Napa Valley into St Helena.

Currently, there is a lot of road work being done on Hwy 29 between St Helena and Rutherford. You can avoid this stretch by cutting across the valley on Deer Park Rd, Pratt Ave or Pope St to Silverado Trail for the return to Yountville. *For safety reasons, the map & route sheet at the bottom of the post will bypass Hwy 29 with a return on Silverado Trail.

Hwy 29 through Rutherford.

Hwy 29 to Oakville.

Turn left on Yount Mill Rd for the return to Yountville Park.

This wonderful ride takes you through the picturesque Napa Valley with a few climbs along the quiet country back roads from Napa County to Sonoma County. You’ll enjoy these less-traveled roads and the gorgeous scenery and mountain landscapes!

Garmin Stats:
78.8 Miles with 5618′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2510′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Hilly with a few steep climbs

Weather: Sunny and warm. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to the mid 80’s with NW winds.

*For safety reasons, the route map and cue sheet reflect the bypass of Hwy 29 with a return on Silverado Trail and two extra miles.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Napa Valley

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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