Although most visitors come to Napa Valley for the wine, your palate-expanding trip is also an opportunity to explore northern California’s great outdoors. Napa is known for having a variety of great hiking, biking, walking and running trails in its rolling green hills that offer a beautiful break from winery hopping, and will help you work off some of that great California food. If you’re staying at the Churchill Manor in downtown Napa then a morning walk or run at the Westwood Hills Park is a lovely and convenient way to start the day. This is a great outing for the kids if you brought them along on your Napa Valley trip, as it will give them a chance to get outside and run around, and even learn something about the area’s ecosystem.
The Westwood Hills Park is conveniently located right off CA 29 in a residential Napa neighborhood. The Valley View Trail is an easy 1.2 mile hike up onto a ridge where you will see the city of Napa and its surrounding valley. Leaving the parking lot you’ll walk through a gate and head up into a eucalyptus forest with a few California bay and coast live oaks scattered throughout it. Signposts will mark the trail and also accompany a self-guided tour pamphlet available at the trail head. Once you reach the ridge you will be surrounded by California bay, coast live oak, madrone and bigleaf maple, and have a wonderful panoramic view. On the way down you will walk or run through a meadow covered in buckeyes, where you may see some cows grazing. There are a few different ways back down to the trailhead, all of which are self-explanatory and beautiful.
If you’re interested in hanging out at Westwood Hills Park for a picnic or as an activity for the little ones there are great places throughout it to accommodate your plans. Near the parking lot, as well as along the trails, are picnic tables and benches for lounging and enjoying a bite to eat. This is a dog-friendly park so feel free to bring your pooch. For the kids there is a children’s nature library, which is open on the weekends and every day but Monday in the summer. It offers a variety of hands-on activities that will keep the kids busy. Don’t forget to visit a Napa wine tasting room on your way and pick up a bottle of wine for your picnic in the hills.
When visiting Napa Valley you’ll see numerous breathtaking panoramas in multiple directions, but there are few like the one from the ridge of this Westwood Hills Park hiking trail. This will give you the opportunity to see a unique view of the very town you’re staying in and exploring, and the beautiful country surrounding it. The excellent Churchill Manor staff will be sure to send you off with a full stomach and plenty of recommendations for where to buy the best picnic basket foods and bottles of wine.