Things to do in Napa Valley

It is no secret, the main draw to Yountville and the Napa Valley is our world-renowned wine and incredible restaurants.  However, once visitors arrive, they quickly realize that the valley is full of incredible gifts from mother nature.  We are blessed to have an average of 260 days of sunshine per year, which makes venturing out into nature a must during your visit.

If you are looking to add a quick jaunt into nature to the itinerary, the hike to Linda Falls should be at the top of your list of things to do in Napa Valley.  Would you believe me if I told you just 20 minutes from the valley floor, you can find a spectacular waterfall?  Even better, you can arrive at the falls in a short 20-minute hike!

Linda Falls-Featuring a waterfall cascading over rocks

Hike to Linda Falls

High in the hills of Angwin, on the western flank of Howell Mountain, is Linda Falls preserve.  The preserve is a 177-acre tract of open space owned and protected by the Land Trust of Napa County, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving the character of Napa by permanently protecting land.  The preserve is located near the community of Angwin within the Conn Creek watershed.

The shining star of the preserve is Linda Falls, where water from Conn Creek tumbles over granite rocks before dropping onto volcanic boulders below.  This natural attraction is a short hike from the trailhead, a 1.3-mile out-and-back trail.

The trails wind past more than 130 species of native plants—one of the most diverse habitats in Napa County.  Among these species: manzanita, canyon live oak, black oak, California bay and more. On my recent visit, the green & herbal notes of the bay trees permeated the air and we were lucky to spot a giant Lions Mane mushroom nestled under a tree.  The Preserve protects over 132 native plant species, including 11 tree species and 32 types of shrubs.

Linda Falls Terrain featuring rocks and trees covered in moss
A lions mane mushroom grows under a tree

Getting There

It can be a little tricky to find the trailhead.  From Silverado Trail headed North, you will take a right onto Deer Park Road (a 4-way flashing stop).   Stay on Deer Park Road, which will eventually turn into Howell Mountain Road.  When you drop into Angwin, look immediately to your left for a tiny parking lot west of the tennis courts at Pacific Union College.

Once you’ve parked your car, walk back along Howell Mountain Road (please use the crosswalk), as if you were retracing the steps you just drove. At the far end, before the road rises over a bridge, you’ll spot the trailhead on the left. The hike descends gradually beyond the sign, heading through a thrush of manzanitas and past a well-marked junction, where you will turn right. About 10 minutes in, the trail begins to descend, following a steep switchback past giant redwoods and some ancient oaks.  Soon you will hear the rush of the falls.  You can make your way to the base by scrambling through rocks and downed trees.  Stay for a bit to enjoy the peaceful rush of the water and the calm of the mossy green forest around you.

Google Map of directions to Linda Falls

Trail Tips

This is considered a moderately challenging hike, as the descent to the waterfall is a steep downgrade.  Hiking shoes with traction are a good idea.  When you arrive at the waterfall, you can scramble through downed trees (covered in beautiful shades of green moss) and rocks to catch a closer view.  If you are visiting after a rainstorm (a particularly spectacular time to view the falls), be prepared for the scramble to leave you with some muddy souvenirs to remember your time on the trail. During the dry season, the volume slows to a trickle, but still a beautiful site to take in, nonetheless.

This is a popular trail for hiking and walking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day. The trail is open year-round and is really beautiful any time of year. You’ll need to leave pups at home — dogs aren’t allowed on this trail.

For more inspiration and must sees in Yountville and Napa Valley, visit our Get Inspired blog!

Linda Falls-Featuring a waterfall cascading over rocks

Enjoy this video of Linda Falls we took on our recent spring visit!