Like the bouquet of a spicy Zinfandel, the wine country of California, north of San Francisco, opens up to reveal many delights and pleasures. Napa Valley and Sonoma County are synonymous with great wine and fine food and dining. By bike, discover shady back lanes, towering redwood groves, a surprising Russian history and delightful pedaling – past vineyards and wine chateaus of every conceivable design.
Napa, CA, United States
St Helena, CA, United States
Calistoga, CA, United States
Healdsburg, CA, United States
What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?
INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP
Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
5 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)
Apr 30-May 5
May 27-Jun 1
Jun 26-Jul 1
Jul 31-Aug 5
Aug 28-Sep 2
Apr 29-May 4
Jul 30-Aug 4
Aug 27-Sep 1
Trip can start at any date. Self-guided and custom trips also available. Call or email for details.
ARRIVE / DEPART
Avarage daily distance is 50 km/30 miles
Getting there :
Napa: Our trip starts from Napa, located 128 km/80 miles north of San Francisco airport. There is regular coach service between SFO airport and Napa, through Evans Transporter. We recommend departing SFO at 8:30 and arriving at 9:45 to Napa.
We meet in Napa, at the Napa River Inn, at 10:00 and begin cycling. Our ride will begin with a loop past the former wine estate of Rene di Rosa, which boasts more than 2000 works by more than 800 California emerging artists that Rene collected. After visiting, we will enjoy lunch at the Boon Fly Cafe. Then we ride north to St. Helena, a trendy and pleasant town in the heart of Napa wine country. We will have a wine reception at 7 pm and then dinner at a favourite bistro.
Distance: 38 km, elevation gain 195 m.*
Spend a full day in the St. Helena area, with many choices. Ride up into the hills above the valley, past forests of California redwoods to high altitude vineyards, which are gradually encroaching on old ranch lands. Then sweep back down the Pope Valley into St. Helena. Or meander through the Napa Valley, visiting Bale’s Grist Mill, which was a focal point for the valley’s settlement during the first half of the 19th century. Cross the Napa River, ride on the lower slope of Howell Mountain and into a rain forest. Whichever option you choose, you’ll enjoy gorgeous scenery. (36 or 18 miles)
Distance: 32 km, elevation gain 548 m or 58 km, gain 835 m.*
Today’s destination is Calistoga, known for its thermal spas and mud baths. You have many options to dial in the mileage of your choice. Take a shorter route in order to have more time to visit some of the historic vineyards in the region, including those that first put California on the oenological map. On the longer ride, you will have the opportunity to watch Old Faithful spout off, as well as to cycle to the historic Chateau Montelena winery, and simply enjoy more of the amazing diversity of this stunning California countryside.
Distance: 18 km, elevation gain 211 m or 31 km, gain 399 m.*
Continue north into the Alexander Valley and then over the Mayacamas Ridge to leave Napa Valley and enter the Sonoma Valley. Pedal through the pretty valley of the Maacama Creek and onto the flat lands of the Russian River Valley. Explore extensive vineyards along the edge ofo the Geysers, the world’s largest geothermal field. Discovered in 1847, these amazing hot spots soon gave rise to the California Spa tradition. Is a massage that far off? Your day ends in the delightful town of Healdsburg at the luxurious Hotel Healdsburg.
Distance: 45 km, elevation gain 334 m or 63 km, gain 451 m.*
A full day in the Healdsburg area lets you explore the unique Russian history of this American enclave. Uncover the wineries of the Russian River Valley, and the unexpected hops industry as well. If you are feeling adventurous, take a side trip into the wild country along Porter Creek. Be sure to leave time to visit Healdsburg, a town with the best qualities of turn-of-the century America, yet with the ambiance of a European countryside. Discover its Spanish-style plaza, numerous museums and excellent antique shops before settling down to a scrumptious final dinner.
Distance: 34 up to 56 km, elevation gain 382 m.*
Spend a few final moments enjoying your time in California’s wine country before bidding it a fond farewell.
*Distance and elevation gains may vary depending on hotels chosen for specific departure.
The Wydown Hotel is a small (12 rooms only) boutique hotel which opened in 2011 in downtown St. Helena. It is a chic, modern, and hip boutique hotel with large, comfortable rooms, friendly and attentive staff and a great location steps from great restaurants and cafes.
Built in the Mission Revival style, the Mount View Hotel is among the premier historic hotels in the Napa Valley. Each of the 32 guest rooms is beautifully decorated with antiques and contemporary accents. The outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, garden patio and full-service spa make this gracious hotel a relaxing and peaceful getaway.
We love this hotel for its location, attentive staff, and amenities. It has everything we look for in a well-managed hotel property. The spa, lounges, lobby bar and swimming pool and jacuzzi are a treat. Note: The Madrona Manor Wine Country Inn is also an option, if you prefer (no additional charge). Just note on the registration form if you prefer this hotel.