Aug 082014

This 73 acre parcel wildlife reserve is a great way to stretch your legs between wine tastings. Here you will find the largest remaining protected riparian habitat on the Napa River as well as “habitat for approximately 150 species of birds, numerous butterflies and various mammals. It also supports a diversified plant community of 238 plants, including the federal and state endangered Sebastopol meadowfoam (Limnanthes vinculans),” according to California Dept. of Fish & Game. California Bay, coast live oak, and willows surround this one mile loop trail. However, the Napa River holds water year ‘round, so when full there is no route across the waterway. Begin at the edge of the parking lot on a path through a meadow. There are interpretive displays about the reserve’s history and ecology on the left. After about 300 feet, the path climbs onto the banks of a levee and splits at an unsigned junction. Bear right. After descending slightly, bear left and walk along the rocky ledge along the river. Willows block a view to the water, and you must search through the tangle of vegetation on the right for a path to the shoreline. There is no formal bridge, but tree branches facilitate a crossing. On the other side of the river, the trail picks up again, ascending to an undersigned junction at 0.13 mile. Stay to the right. At a short spur on the right you’ll find the first post on a self-guided tour. The Reserve is owned by the State of California under the auspices of the Department of Fish and Game (DFG).  In 2008 the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District entered into an agreement with DFG to help steward this gem of the valley. Lat/Long: 38°25’3.66”N / 122°21’11.60”W. From CA 29 in Yountville, turn east on Madison. Drive about 0.2 mile, to a T intersection with Yount. Turn left, then make an immediate right onto Yountville Cross Road. Drive about 0.9 mile to the trailhead on the left side of the road.


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