Monday, December 9, 2013


60 Hikes in 60 Miles in 60 Weeks: Week Fifteen
Robert Louis Stevenson State Park
Rocks at the Mount St. Helena summit

What it's like:
You may get that "top of the world" feeling when you hike to the Bay Area's highest accessible peak -- 4304 foot Mount St. Helena, north of Calistoga. This 11+ mile out and back super-scenic hike is not really hard, just long!

Why now:
If you've been reading my website, book, and/or blog for a while, you've probably noticed I don't like hiking in hot weather. These trails are almost completely exposed, so summer is not the ideal season. On crystal clear early winter days views from the mountain top are sublime -- gaze to the south for downtown San Francisco skyscrapers and snow-capped mountains to the north.

If you can't make it this week:
Winter and early spring are the best times to hike here, and you'll also stand the best chance to book a place to stay, even last minute.

Insider tip:
It would not take much (ok any) persuading for me to combine this Mount St. Helena hike with an overnight stay in one of the Calistoga hot springs resorts. A long satisfying day hike followed by a soak in a hot pool and a little local wine... heaven. Be sure to start this hike early in the day so you don't run out of sunlight.

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park is hike number 15 in 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: San Francisco (third edition). Read about this hike on BAHiker.

Alternate choice:
Heron's Head Park. San Francisco's India Basin has changed dramatically in the last few years -- becoming cleaner, safer, and altogether more pleasant. Although Heron's Head Park is adjacent to the recycling center at Pier 96, this little spit of land is a fantastic place for an easy stroll and some birdwatching. After your walk, cross the street to Bay Natives, at the corner of Jennings and Cargo Way. The folks who work in this oasis are super friendly and their plant selection is top notch.

Post your comments and experiences here or on the BAHiker Facebook page.

No comments: