— HIKE in NAPA VALLEY —
In the late 1800s, cinnabar deposits were discovered in this area and several mines were developed to extract the ore and produce quicksilver (mercury) from it. Discovered in 1872, the Oat Hill Mine became the area's most productive mine and in 1873, construction of a road from it to Calistoga and Pope Valley was started. The road took 20 years to complete and officially opened in 1893. Eventually, the mine closed in the late '60s, but the road still remains.
Today, the old mine is not open to the public and it's location is not published, but the road has become a multi-purpose recreational trail loved by mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians. It's total length is 8.25 miles with an elevation gain of 2000', but even just a short, easy climb from the trailhead offers rewarding views of the valley. Midway, near where the Palisades trail meets the Oat Hill Mine trail is the old homestead site of Karl Gustov Holm who built a log cabin here in 1893. Not much remains. In the middle and upper parts of the trail, look for ruts carved by heavy wagon loads that once traveled over the soft volcanic rock.
The trailhead for this hike is at the awkward intersection of The Silverado Trail and Route 29 (Lincoln St.). There's only parking for a couple of cars, so people tend to park across the street on the dirt corner between Lincoln St. and the Silverado Trail. It's also just a short walk from downtown Calistoga, where there is plenty of on-street parking.
Leashed dogs are allowed, so by all means bring your best pal, but keep in mind that you will encounter horses and mountain bikers along the way.
— nearby JOYRIDES —
Back Lanes of Calistoga