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Napa Valley - Activities

Napa Valley Activities

There are numerous opportunities for hiking throughout the Napa and neighboring Sonoma valleys; many vineyards offer hikes and walks through their expansive grounds. More challenging is the 5mi (8km) climb to the 4343-foot (1500m) summit of Mt St Helena, in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Bicycling through Wine Country is another memorable experience, although it's best to stick to the quieter back roads when possible; try the Silverado Trail rather than Hwy 29.The valley is fairly flat and cycle-friendly, and pedaling between wineries is not too demanding.

Even tea-totalers can get high in wine country: Gliding, hot-air ballooning and flying in vintage aircraft over the region are just a few ways to get your feet off the ground. Balloon flights are the most popular, perhaps because a champagne breakfast is usually included in the deal.

Of course, the most popular activity around is wine tasting, and with 300 wineries serving 'flights' of six to eight wines for your enjoyment - usually costing $3 to $10 - you'll be seeing double in no time. Some of Napa's finest include PlumpJack, with an excellent 2000 Syrah; Stag's Leap, makers of the cabernet sauvignon that beat France's best back in 1976; Hess Collection & Winery, with an adjacent art gallery; Clos Pegase, featuring sculptures on the grounds of the 1987 Michael Graves-designed buildings; and Chateau Montelena, with good cabernets and a beautiful lake with Chinese-style bridges and pavilions. Bottoms up!

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