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Top 3: Wine Country Hikes

The fine fall colors and comfortable weather of harvest season will make you want to raise a glass.
Sept12_TOP3_HellerFamilyMtStHelena_445x260Mt. St. Helena (Heller Family Vineyards)

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, CA
Mt. St. Helena
Snag summit views of vine-latticed valleys.

Combine Napa Valley’s claims to fame—pastoral landscapes and premium wine—on this 10-mile out-and-back to a 4,343-foot summit just north of Calistoga. The dry Mediterranean climate, so amenable to viniculture, means that from May to October you’re all but guaranteed a sunny day. Begin on the Stevenson Memorial Trail, switchbacking up 700 feet in .8 mile through blue oak. Turn left on the Mt. St. Helena Trail (a fire road) for your next four miles. This section and the flat summit provide views of a tapestry of meticulously cultivated vines, which turn gold and crimson in October. Retrace your steps, then sip world-class Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Montelena’s century-old vineyards (montelena.com), 6.2 road-miles south. (707-942-4575; parks.ca.gov) Trip data backpacker.com/hikes/342167

The way From Calistoga, take CA 29 N 8.2 miles and turn right into a small parking area at the crest of a hill. The trailhead is across the road.

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