Stand Up Paddle Napa River - Mountain Bike Napa - Hike Bothe-Napa Valley



Napa wants to get something off its chest. It's not all about the wine. Escape the summer crowds and explore the fruits of Napa's wilder side!

Stand up Paddle board Napa River

Take a Stand

Stand-up paddleboarding isn't just the latest beach craze. Wine country is also getting in on the action! Part kayaking, part surfing, SUP'ing is a great way to get out on the water. New to the scene? Napa Valley Adventure Tours offers everything you need to try it out on the Napa River. Their beefy, stable paddleboards (resembling a squashed kayak) are perfect for first-time paddlers. Put in at the Oxbow Public Market and cruise the tame waters at your own pace. Like riding a bike for the first time, you may not want to stop once you get the hang of it. Go for an hour or make it a half-day trip with lunch.

BONUS: Grab a bite at the Oxbow Public Market. Pica Pica Maize Kitchen makes delicious catira cachapas (sweet-corn pancake bread filled with sautéed chicken, cheddar cheese, and a signature sofrito). For dessert, Three Twins Organic Ice Cream makes an otherworldly vanilla honey lavender, but you can't really go wrong with any flavor.

Napa Valley Adventure Tours, 610 First St., Oxbow Public Market, Napa; 707-259-1833. A one-hour lesson with an additional three hours of paddling is $99. A rental without a lesson is $50 for two hours or $75 for all day. Call ahead to make sure stand-up paddleboards are available.

Mountain Bike Napa Skyline Regional Park

The Wheel Deal

Home to numerous mountain bike races and even a World Cup, Napa's Skyline Wilderness Park is a must for fat-tire aficionados. Intermediate and advanced mountain bikers can get their thrills on the swooping singletrack of the Skyline, Chaparral, and Buckeye trails. Start with a slow, steady climb paralleling Marie Creek all the way to tiny Lake Marie. Cross the dam and get ready for a short, intense section that might require a hike-a-bike before the path joins the Skyline Trail and the real fun begins. Dart up and over hills high above Napa Valley, blast through dense oak forest, and veer onto the highlight of this route, Buckeye Trail—where smooth singletrack descends back to the start. Two important things: hit the trail early during Napa's baking summer, and be sure to pick up a free map; trail signs are sporadic, keeping you on the tips of your pedals!

To reach Skyline Wilderness Park: From Hwy 29 in Napa, go east on Imola Ave. Follow Imola Ave. 4 miles to the park entrance on the right. It's $6 to park. From the parking area follow signs through the RV park to the trailhead. Make a left on Lake Marie Rd and follow it about 2 miles up to Lake Marie. Make a left and cross the dam; then follow the signs to Chaparral Trail (steep sections may require a hike-a-bike). In .5-mile you'll reach a T-intersection; go right on Skyline Trail. In about 2 miles there's an unsigned three-way intersection. Go right (downhill) and come upon the Buckeye Trail. Follow the Buckeye Trail down and to the left back to Lake Marie Road. The ride is just under 7 miles. No dogs.

Napa's Other Big Red

Try a different kind of liquid refreshment in Napa Valley: a year-round burbling stream flowing through a shaded redwood forest. Ritchey Creek is the centerpiece of Bothe-Napa Valley State Park just north of St. Helena. Miles of hiking trails can be found in the park, including a leisurely 4-mile loop that ambles alongside the creek, far from the traffic noise of Highway 29. Walk among the easternmost coastal redwoods in the state, as well as maples, oaks, and madrones; the tall tree-cover cools things down when Napa Valley's summer heats up. Mixed evergreens and ferns festoon the trail bordering the banks of the creek. After the first 2 miles you'll ford the creek—hopping rocks and logs—to reach a fire road that leads back to the trailhead. Strong finish.

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is located 5 miles north of St. Helena on Hwy. 29. Park at the trailhead, on the right of the road just past the visitor center. Start hiking on the Ritchey Canyon Trail. Follow it along Ritchey Creek until you reach Redwood Trail. Continue on Redwood Trail; in 1 mile ford Ritchey Creek and make a right on the Ritchey Canyon Trail (fire road). Follow it back to the start. There's an $8 entrance fee. No dogs.

Green Never Felt So Good

Sure, you can drive green cars and buy green products, but did you know you can join a green race? Get ready for the Marin County Triathlon, named the No.1 green event by Triathlon Magazine. Team In Training (TNT) is your ticket to the best tri experience. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's TNT has trained more than 400,000 athletes over 22 years with personalized workout programs, nutrition advice, and a network of premier coaches, mentors, and teammates. The Marin County Triathlon isn't your ordinary Olympic-distance event: Taking place on the shores of San Pablo Bay, this carbon-neutral tri mixes sustainable living and quirky entertainment. Set up your gear while being serenaded by a Parisian accordionist, and follow the lead of a bagpiper to the 1.5k-swim start at McNears Beach. Cycle alongside the Bay on a 22-mile ride, and run 10k to a triumphant finish on the spectator-friendly course. Everything from hybrid race vehicles to organic food and biodegradable banners will be supporting a greener planet. Get to a TNT information meeting to learn more about joining the greenest triathlon in the country. Training kicks off in late July!

TIP: Last call to walk or run the Nike Women's Half Marathon. Entries sold out months ago but TNT still has some spots left.

Upcoming information meeting dates in San Francisco, the East Bay, and the North Bay.

Upcoming information meeting dates in the Peninsula, the South Bay, Santa Cruz, and Monterey areas.

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