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Hike the Lake Hennessey Loop

Saint Helena, California

based on 1 reviews



6.4 miles

Elevation Gain

900 ft

Route Type



Added by Nicole Mason

The biggest bang for your buck in the Napa Valley - beautiful varied landscape, wildlife, and solitude.

The "lollipop" hike starts at the "Ranch House" parking lot off of Chiles Pope Valley Road - alternatively, you can access from Conn Valley Road for a shortened 5.6-mile loop. You turn off Chiles Pope Valley Road onto Moore Creek Trail, drive past a private house (you can see it on the map) and then park in the parking lot just down the hill. When starting by the ranch house you'll cross the creek (possible even in winter) and then follow the old access road along Chiles Creek. Try to spot the wildcat cameras that are hidden along the way - part of a research study! Dogs are allowed but must stay on-leash. 

About a mile in take the Alta Hennessey Trail up to the ridgeline. This is my favorite trail in the park - you emerge from the valley up into an incredible mossy hilltop and follow the ridge along open meadows full of deer, swallows, and eagles above. The wildlife is incredible, although it's very sunny in the summertime. 

After following the ridge for 2.2 miles you can either take Sam the Eagle Trail (I usually take this way although it can be a little overgrown and I have seen some poison oak here) or the more gentle (but longer) Ken's Cutoff. Either way, you descend down to Lake Hennessey for a very pleasant walk along the shore. The lake is a drinking water source so swimming by you or your dog are not allowed. This is very well enforced so please respect it. 

Lake Hennessey is a wonderful destination for birders of all kinds - there are markers every half mile or so pointing out bird species for you and your kids to spot. At sunset, it's very active and I saw at least 12 different species including a bald eagle and nesting geese. 

Continue along the lake and then stay on Chiles Creek Trail. You'll pass the turn-off for the Alta Hennessey trail you took earlier and continue back to the parking lot. 

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Hike the Lake Hennessey Loop Reviews

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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