Last week I did another walk with fellow-Walkabouters at the JFK Memorial Park along the Napa River. Tule Marsh used to dominate the area until the mid-1800s. San Pablo Bay (off of San Francisco Bay) was 18,000 acres of tidal marsh. Some of that is being restored.
We chose to start our walk at the parking lot near the boat launch.
Trails along the Napa River go north and south from here. In this direction, it skirts a playground and playing field on the right and the river on the left.
Much of the trail is flat and paved, sometimes it is packed gravel – but usually wide and flat. In a short distance is an overlook to the river off to the left.
Besides being part of the Bay Trail, flood control and revegetation are key elements. Behind the sign in this picture is a ball field. In other areas, olive, pine, redwood, oak, coyote bush and wild rose have been planted.
After a .4 mile is a parallel dirt trail. We couldn’t resist. It is only this narrow for a short distance and then gets road-wide.
Past the ball fields and a pond, is turnoff that leads back to the Napa Valley Community College and Hwy 221 (about one mile from boat launch). The trail gets closer to the rail bed. Beware crossing the tracks.
We also get closer to the river. Across the wetland and the coyote bushes, we could see a sailboat motoring down the river.
At the north end of the JFK Memorial Park is the Imola St. Bridge. It was our marker for how far we would go today.
A small bridge over a creek heads towards Napa on the Napa Valley Wine Trail. After another creek crossing this trail goes along 6th Street to downtown Napa. This trip would add another 2.7 mile to your walk.
We turned around. As we did the walk, from the boat launch to the Imola St, it is about 2 miles total.
Views to the mountains on our left (to the east) beckoned.
Back to the boat launch, we started the trail south.
It runs close to the Napa River in short distance and then makes a loop. I gave up, as the rain had started. This loop is about a mile.
Destination: John F Kennedy Memorial Park. Check the City of Napa’s Parks page for more information, including reservations for group use activities.
Directions: On Napa Valley Highway (#221) turn west towards the Napa River on Streblow Dr. Go past the Napa Community College on the right and Wedgewood Golf Course on your left. Park in any of the lots and pick up the trail where you can. We started at the boat launch.
Bathroom: Yes. Flush, but no water.
Boat Launch: Yes
Dog: on a leash.
For all our walks along the Bay Trail, please see the list on a new page Bay Trail Walks.
See you on the trail!
Words and photos by Lynn Millar