Best place to backpack near(ish) wine country?
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christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Best place to backpack near(ish) wine country? on 09/21/2011 17:30:29 MDT Print View

So my wife and I love wine. Every winter we go backpacking through point reyes in the cold and rain, and then drive straight to Napa and spoil ourselves there.
Does anyone else know of good places to backpack near-ish wine country? Perhaps somewhere in Napa, Russian River, Paso Robles, etc.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Best place to backpack near(ish) wine country? on 09/21/2011 17:52:08 MDT Print View

Henry Coe? Big Sur? Pinnacles? Big Basin? Any more it's harder to find places to backpack then to find wineries, which seem to be in every corner of the state. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Plenty of hiking around the Napa and Sonoma valleys but I don't know whether there are overnight backpacking possibilities. If you head east to the Sierra foothills between Nevada County to the north and Calaveras County to the south, you might be able to combine some river hiking with the wineries of that region (hundreds to choose from). Often nicer there in winter than in the summer.

Cheers,

Rick

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Best place to backpack near(ish) wine country? on 09/21/2011 18:08:46 MDT Print View

Christopher, Cache Creek BLM land (where we are having our annual BPL gathering) is close to Napa. As for backpacking around Napa-Sonoma, I really cannot think of many places to go. Rick is right, you could go to Coe, or Ventana Wilderneess. If you go to Ventana Wilderness you have some wonderful wine country to do wine tasting. The Santa Lucia Highlands is a fantastic AVA for Pinot and Chard. Many great wineries are in that area, namely Pesagno, Paraiso, Bernardus, Figge, Hahn, Talbott etc. All have great tasting rooms and are more in line with how Sonoma is, ie low tasting fees and a more personalized tasting experience.

If you go to Coe or Big Basin, you have the fantastic Santa Cruz Mtns. AVA...wineries include Ridge, Savannah Chavelle, David Bruce, Thomas Fogarty, Bargetto, Cinnabar, Fleming Jenkins, Burrell School, Silver Mountain, Beauregard, Hallcrest, or you can go into Santa Cruz where they have many great tasting facility that houses about 10 wineries which include Bonny Doon and many others.

If you have any questions about the wineries and areas I have mentioned, please feel free to ask. The same goes for the Napa, Sonoma, or Livermore Valley AVA's

I work in the wine business.

Edited by kennyhel77 on 09/21/2011 18:12:37 MDT.

Chad Anderson
(kiddzoso)

Locale: N. California
Re: Napa on 09/22/2011 20:29:39 MDT Print View

I also like the Cache Creek BLM area. There is a lot of wildlife activity down by the water. I saw pretty big bear tracks all over the place, some coyote, deer, and raccoon tracks as well. There's apparently Tule Elk there as well, which you may have seen at Point Reyes.

You can also try the Long Canyon loop, which is somewhere over an hour drive from (for example) Silverado Trail/Stags Leap area in Napa. It's off of one of these great roads to nowhere that seem to be all over the north coast ranges. There's thousands of acres on the Knoxville Ranch Department of Fish and Game land to explore here.
http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/wa/region3/knoxville.html
http://www.yolohiker.org/trails/knoxville/knoxville/index.html

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Snow Mountain on 09/22/2011 21:00:45 MDT Print View

I spent a bit of time in the Santa Rosa area. The only backpacking trip I did was the Snow Mountain Wilderness area. I have a trip report about it if you're interested. I liked it. One thought is that it might dry up a bit later in the season (I was there in the spring).

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Cache creek blm sounds interesting on 09/23/2011 02:07:47 MDT Print View

Cache Creek is interesting me. Any specific trail you recommend? I'd ideally like to do 25 to 30 miles there over 2 nights.
Any sites with trail maps?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Cache Creek BLM on 09/23/2011 07:03:16 MDT Print View

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ukiah/cachecreek.html

Scroll down to map links and trail descriptions.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Snow mountain on 09/23/2011 09:01:54 MDT Print View

I'll add my voice to the Snow Mountain chorus---but you have to pick your spots. Some of that area gets heavy ATV use...

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Wine Country Backpacking on 09/23/2011 10:16:53 MDT Print View

Check out the Santa Barbara Wine Country and the backcountry of the Los Padres National Forest.

Santa Ynez Valley in northern Santa Barbara County is a popular wine destination (as shown in the movie Sideways); lots of great vineyards off of Hwy 154 and surround areas (Foxen Canyon Rd).

The Santa Ynez Valley is also the gateway to the San Rafael Wilderness area of the Los Padres National Forest. In fact you have to drive past lots of vineyards to even get to a lot of the trailheads. In my opinion, this area is best from the fall to spring; summers are too hot in the backcountry.

Plenty of B&Bs and such in Santa Ynez and surrounding towns; a lot of the trailheads into the San Rafael are maybe about a 45 minute drive on beautiful, but windy, 1-2 lane (total) country roads.

We often hit up a vineyard for a tasting or to pick up a bottle or two on our way to (or back) from a overnighter in the Los Padres.

There are some interesting opportunities here, like hike in to the Sisquoc River and camp at an old restored 1930s backcountry ranger station (South Fork); about 16 miles hike one way. Then hit up one of the vineyards along the same river, but farther downstream outside of the forest (Rancho Sisquoc, Foxen, etc.).

Anyway, happy to provide more info if you're interested.

Edited by NickB on 09/23/2011 10:18:59 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Best place to backpack near(ish) wine country? on 09/23/2011 10:19:56 MDT Print View

I'm still waiting for Helwig to set up a BPL trip to visit wineries. I'd walk down the highway, and camp in a vineyard.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Best place to backpack near(ish) wine country? on 09/24/2011 07:29:54 MDT Print View

haha Joe, that sounds like fun actually!!!

Heading up to Napa for some educational tasting in a few weeks

Rick Horne
(Rick778) - M

Locale: NorCal - South Bay - Campbell
Re: Re: Best place to backpack near(ish) wine country? on 09/24/2011 10:28:00 MDT Print View

"I'm still waiting for Helwig to set up a BPL trip to visit wineries. I'd walk down the highway, and camp in a vineyard."

I actually might be able to get my wife to go on this trip :-)
Make it happen Ken.

Chad Anderson
(kiddzoso)

Locale: N. California
Snow Mountain on 09/26/2011 18:14:11 MDT Print View

How is the scenery in Snow Mountain? Specifically, has it recovered from the 2001 fire? I've been meaning to go there for years now.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Best place to backpack near(ish) wine country? on 09/26/2011 18:20:28 MDT Print View

Rick, even my wife would attend that one!! Stealth camp in the vineyards!

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Snow Mtn. Scenery on 09/26/2011 18:37:47 MDT Print View

Heres a trip report I did on Snow Mountain. Some of the other areas might actually be better but you never know. Heres the report if you want to see what it looked like with a lot of spring snow.


http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=33146&skip_to_post=285411#285411

Chad Anderson
(kiddzoso)

Locale: N. California
Great report on 09/27/2011 23:52:39 MDT Print View

Thanks a lot for the insightful trail report. (Also--cool setup).