Greetings, readers; the aim of this occasional column is to provide you with updates on our Napa County trails and outdoor spaces. It will also include a couple of items about outdoor happenings further afield. So let’s dive in!

This week’s trail update is all about Lake Hennessey/Moore Creek Park; a lot has been happening in that neighborhood!

You may know that trail crews constructed Old Man’s Beard Trail (OMB) a couple of years ago. That trail provides a shady (OK, partly shady) hike on a low ridge paralleling the lakeside trail, and it also passes by an old homestead site. Now Chino Yip and Chris Cahill of the Napa Open Space District report that trail crews have built Conn Peak Trail, a new 1.5-mile trail that starts from OMB at the homestead site, and then zigzags up and over the ridgeline to meet up with Alta Hennessey Trail. On the ridgeline, a quarter-mile spur trail takes you to the tippy-top of the peak. The lake looks pretty stellar from up there.

If you are heading out to Lake Hennessey or Moore Creek for the first time, keep a lookout near the trailhead for a kiosk with a trail map to locate these trails.

The trail crew is also marking the route for two more trails, Catacoula Trail and Whiskey Ridge Trail. Whiskey Ridge climb from Moore Creek to the ridgeline, paralleling Alta Hennessey Trail on the north, and providing a single-track alternative. That trail should be done by mid-summer, weather permitting. (Although frankly, folks, the weather has not been very permissive over the last few weeks.) Work will start on Catacoula Trail late this year.

Trail hikes & events

The Napa Open Space District (OSD) also sends some news about their Third Saturday Hike series. Every third Saturday at 10 a.m., you can join a naturalist-led jaunt through some beautiful park landscapes:

  • The

June 15

  • outing will start at Redwood trailhead in

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.

  • Join the hike and explore the birds of Bothe — including Pileated Woodpeckers, Dark-eyed Juncos, and even a Red-Shouldered Hawk.
  • The

July 20

  • outing, also at Bothe, will be all about redwoods. (Fun fact: Bothe-Napa Valley is the farthest inland location for Coast Redwoods.)
  • And the

Aug. 17

  • outing will be at the American Canyon Wetlands — a great location to escape the summer heat and learn what bird species make their home near San Pablo Bay.

Volunteer opportunities

Anna Yip of the Napa Resource Conservation District (RCD) offers a plethora of ideas for volunteering outdoors, now that the sun is out:

  • Want to help re-oak the valley?

June 15

Oak Volunteer Day at Alston Park

  • in Napa. The park has a crop of newly planted oak trees that need volunteers to check growth, pull invasive weeds, and mulch. Contact annay@naparcd.org to RSVP.
  • Want to see a cleaner Napa River? On

June 22

  • the

Napa River Cleanup

  • will be happening; head out to help get the trash out. Bring your own bucket, grabber and gloves if available, otherwise some will be provided for volunteers. RCD will announce the exact location on its website (naparcd.org) in a couple of weeks.
  • Want to use your gardening skills?

June 29 is Rain Garden Volunteer Day

  • at the

Vintage High Rain Garden.

  • Planted in 2013, this garden shows off several sustainable gardening techniques, including water catchment, drought-tolerance, and habitat creation, but it needs some tending! Show up and help weed and mulch this beautiful landscape.

Also, Moore Creek Park has volunteer trail work projects the second Saturday of the month, weather permitting. Skyline Wilderness Park has a volunteer trail project the first Saturday of the month. (Stay tuned for more on Skyline in the next edition of this column!)


Kids can also go to camp in our local parks this summer. Here are three upcoming ones:

Camp Osprey (ages 9-13) at Lake Berryessa (overnight camp, June 26-28);

Camp Calypso (ages 8-12); and Camp Sequoia (ages 13-16) will take place at Bothe and Bale Grist Mill (day camp, July 15-19).

All three will offer outdoor adventures, group games and activities, and the opportunity for an afternoon dip in the water (either the lake or the pool). You can find more details and register at napaoutdoors.org/summercamp.

Farther afield:

Eileen Morris from the Bay Area Ridge Trail informs us that Saturday, June 1 is National Trails Day. To celebrate, the Ridge Trail is partnering with several Bay Area parks to offer trail stewardship opportunities. One cool project is in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where volunteers will work on restoring habitat for the Mission Blue Butterfly. That could include you! Check out ridgetrail.org/national-trails-day-2019 for more info.

Very much farther afield:

St. Helenans Tim and Flin McDonald have been hosting two adventurers from the north: Hilde from Canada, and Sunniva from Norway. These two “polar ambassadors” will soon embark on an expedition to overwinter in a remote, historic trapper’s cabin in the high Arctic (78 degrees north — check your globes, readers). Their goal, besides staying warm, is to collect data, test new technology, and highlight the significant changes that are occurring in the Arctic. Visit heartsintheice.com to learn more about this polar adventure.

Thanks for reading. And please share your adventure news! Send your trail reports and updates to editor@sthelenastar.com.

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Anne Cottrell is a St. Helena resident who likes to be outdoors.