Our 10-day trip starts in Napa and we recommend you arrive anytime late afternoon. Start with a stroll of the Napa riverfront, with its cafes and tasting rooms including our favourite –Carpe Diem Wine Bar serving over 60 wines by the glass, from small production wines to prominent world-class vintners. We provide suggestions for dinner- Napa is filled with award-winning restaurants.
There are options for an easy-going and more challenging ride on this day. The easier ride passes by 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, have lunch at the Boon Fly Cafe, located along the route. There is also a challenging loop to Sonoma where lunch at The Girl and a Fig would be a reward for the effort. Back in Napa, we provide lots of dinner options, including Morimotos acclaimed restaurant that opened on the river front in 2010.
Distance: 31 km, elevation gain 134 m or 84 km, gain 1005 m.*
Ride north out of Napa along quiet roads and bike paths to Yountville, home to 4 Michelin-starred restaurants, not bad for a town of less than 3,000 people! Stroll the streets of this lovely village and then continue north, passing tasting opportunities at Opus and PlumpJack wineries en-route to St. Helena. If you want more riding, we also provide add-on options to ride through more of the valley, visiting Bale’s Grist Mill, which was a focal point for the valley’s settlement during the first half of the 19th century. You will want to stop in at the St. Helena Olive Oil Company, to learn about locally produced olive oil and to taste the other famous liquid that the valley produces.
Distance: 39 km, elevation gain 137 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.
Distance: 58 km, elevation gain 836 m or 32 km, gain 548 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.
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: 48 km, elevation gain 382 m.*
On this day, you follow the Russian River with an opportunity to detour to the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, before continuing to the coast, and along Hwy 1 to Bodega Bay. We also provide a long and challenging option along the route that Levi Leipheimer boasts is among the best rides in the country. The coastline is spectacular of course, and the Bodega Bay Lodge is a comfortable and luxurious inn to overnight.
Distance: 68 km, elevation gain 581 m or 132 km, gain 2191 m.*
From Bodega Bay, you have two options to Sonoma, one that goes direct via Petaluma and a longer option that follows the coast to Point Reyes National Seashore (the lunch spot we recommend is worth the detour alone). Arrive to Sonoma, described in NY times as “being nurtured by a new generation of oenophiles who appreciate Sonoma’s low-key charms, filling its beautiful historic towns with upscale boutiques, art galleries and Old World-style restaurants.” Doesn’t that sound like a great place to finish your wine country bike trip? We will recommend just the restaurant in which to celebrate your trip finish.
Distance: 70 km, elevation gain 654 m or 107 km, gain 1151 m.*
Spend a few final moments enjoying your time in California’s wine
country before bidding it a fond farewell, to head off on your next
*Distance and elevation gains may vary depending on hotels chosen for specific departure.