Skyline Trail Bay Area Ridge Trail

Skyline Wilderness Park, California

Elevation Gain2,566ft
Trailhead Elevation998ft
Elevation Min/Max175/998ft
Elevation Start/End998/998ft

Skyline Trail Bay Area Ridge Trail

Skyline Trail (Bay Area Ridge Trail) is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Napa County, California. It is within Skyline Wilderness Park. It is 3.5 miles long and begins at 998 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,566 feet. The Lake Marie (elevation 804 feet) reservoir can be seen along the trail. There are also a bench, a viewpoint, and a picnic site along the trail. This trail connects with the following: River To Ridge Trail, Bayleaf Trail, Lower Skyline, Chaparral Trail, Thatcher Rim Rock Trail (Suggested Hikers Only), Titeur Loop Trail (Bay Area Ridge Trail) and Buckeye Trail.

Skyline Trail (Bay Area Ridge Trail) Professional Reviews and Guides

"This ride boasts narrow and challenging singletrack through oak forests, high grasslands, and rugged chaparral-covered hillsides. There are plenty of technical uphills and downhills, rock gardens, and hairpin turns. The ride begins with a mile of steep climbing to the ridge overlooking the Napa Valley, the North Bay marshes, and surrounding mountains. The trail continues along the ridge until dropping down to Lake Marie. The return ride is on the other side of the canyon, following the contours of the mountain. This park was the venue for the Napa World Cup from 1997 to 1999. Trail surface: 90 percent singletrack and 10 percent dirt road."

"At the trailhead there is a sign that reads: WARNING: BEWARE OF RATTLESNAKES, WILD PIGS, POISON OAK, AND TICKS. (I suggest wearing long pants to avoid poison oak and thistles.) This ride also contains an abundance of narrow singletrack. The first portion involves a long climb to the top of a ridge, over a mixture of smooth and rocky singletrack. Intervening downhill sections contain challenging sharp turns. The descent from the ridge to the inlet of Lake Marie is steep. The Chaparral Trail on the far side of Lake Marie contains a very steep and rocky climb. The descent from the lake is also very steep with sharp switchbacks, rock gardens, and roots. The last portion of the ride contains several challenging technical maneuvers down rocky chutes, followed by log water bars around corners that can become quite slippery in wet weather. Variety is the theme of this ride, in terms of both ecosystems and terrain. The result is a feeling of having spent a wonderful few hours in nature, and of accomplishment after having successfully accomplished some of the technical challenges. Highlights: Narrow singletrack, views of Napa Valley and the entire north bay area, wildflowers in spring and early summer, challenging technical uphill and downhill sections, lakes, rock gardens, bay forests, grassy knolls, manzanita groves. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the singletrack."

"Skyline Wilderness Park lies only a mile or so from the busy thoroughfares of Napa. The part of the park adjacent to the entrance is managed for intensive recreation, with horse arenas, an archery range, RV park, and picnic grounds. Specialty birds: Resident—Golden Eagle, Band-tailed Pigeon, Western Screech-Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Steller’s Jay, Oak Titmouse, Wrentit, California Thrasher. Summer—Lazuli Bunting. Winter—Varied Thrush. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information."

"East of Napa State Hospital in the southern foothills of Napa Valley, this out-and-back trail is for hardy hikers and careful equestrians and mountain bikers. It is a narrow, often rocky trail with limited visibility. After a steep climb in the first mile, this trail ambles through oak forests and high grasslands to views of North Bay marshes and mountains and then continues beside a perennial stream to the far reaches of the park."

Skyline Trail (Bay Area Ridge Trail) Reviews

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I agree with Brian's review, but I only rode this once and it deserves another look. Don't take the skyline trail up unless you are an expert. Probably don't take it down either. The Buckeye or the Lake Marie Rd up. At the parking lot look for the signs to the trails which go through the campground. Remember which way you came into the campground on the way back as it's not marked and not easy to find. Views are beautiful if you get to the skyline trail. You get a map with the $6 parking fee, but notice that north is down on the map, which is not conventional.
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A fun trail system especially if you live close because it's easy to get to when you're pressed for time. It's best to park at the golf course (free) on Streblow and take river to ridge trail, which you'll see on the other side of the stoplight at Streblow and hwy 221, until you hit the lake marie fire road. Can be a taxing climb on bigger bikes, but it's doable. Just before you hit the lake you'll see the buckeye connector which is a fun single track down that runs to the south of the fire road and takes you back to where you started. Definitely worth riding at least once.
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MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT!!! I read this was the site of the 1997-1999 world cup race, so I had high expectations of an awesome loop trail. First, the directions were not complete. If you come from Vallejo, turn RIGHT at the stoplight just after the state hospital, on Imola Street. Then go 1.5 miles and the park is on your right side. Second, it's $6 for your car and bike to get in. Now regarding the trails: expect major ascents/descents (most are around 20% grade). No rolling fast smooth singletrack here! From the parking lot you are going to climb to get to the center of the trails. If you don't take the main dirt fireroad up the hill, you mine as well shoot yourself right there because the trails are not well-maintained, and too rocky/steep to climb. For those hardcore downhillers you'll probably like the 3-4 gnarly downhills, but the uphills you'll be cursing. I will never ride here again, and I will never recommend it to anyone. The best trail they had was the main fireroad going up because it was at least rideable. Other than that, prepare yourself to get off and walk every 60 seconds. They also claimed to have water at the start, but it was so slow that it took me 5 minutes to fill up my camelback.

Skyline Trail (Bay Area Ridge Trail) Photos

Trail Information

Skyline Wilderness Park
Nearby City
Skyline Wilderness Park
Skyline Park Citizen's Association
Local Contacts
USGS Napa (trails not shown)
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018