Oxbow Preserve

Trail
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2stars (2.00)1
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Napa
Napa
More Info

Getting There

From central Napa, head east to Silverado Trail and turn left to head north. After passing 1st Street take the next left onto McKenzie Drive. Keep going straight to the end of McKenzie where a small circle contains a small number of parking spaces for the preserve.

History

Napa has rapidly urbanized and the river through the center of town has become more controlled over time. As part of an effort to restore riparian and wetland habitat the City of Napa, with the help of Friends of the Napa River and the Trust for Public Land acquired 12.7 acres of land here.

There is a nicely laid out self guided tour for Oxbow available online. While useful, there are also a few flaws in its presentation. The most glaring is the orientation of North, which is no less than 90 degrees off! Since no one is likely to be navigating by compass through the park it does not pose much of a problem.

The cover of the tour guide gives some indication that the illustrations may be based on plans that were modified over time before their implementation. A bridge from the main paved loop of the park crosses over the river providing an alternate access point.

The Trails

A view of the trail along the main paved loop.
A view of the trail along the main paved loop.
From the parking lot, there is a quarter mile kidney-shaped loop paved path that can be enjoyed by visitors of all capabilities. Some large oaks dot the perimeter of the path while the center is largely an open grassy area.

Radiating out of the main loop are two paths leading south towards the remainder of the preserve's trails. The southernmost spur is also paved and continues for about 1/10th of a mile to a mini cul-de-sac. From this point a dirt path continues south to "The Point", the southernmost point in the preserve.

Several other trail segments, all dirt trails at this point, split and join up in the area, occasionally providing short spurs with access to the Napa River as it meanders around the park.

In attempting to hike all main segments a hiker is likely to log less than 1.5 miles. There's not a great hike here, but a pleasant and mostly quiet spot to enjoy a more natural interaction with the Napa River in the center of town.

Photos
Trail View
Leaving the dirt paths back onto the main paved loop. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Coppertone on the trail
Coppertone on the trail looking out over the Napa River to the opposite bank. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Napa River
The Napa River as seen from just off the trail. OxBow Market is to the right and the Culinary Institute building is straight ahead. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Recommended Item
Recommended Item Day Hikes Around Napa Valley
Robert Stone
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Napa Valley is recognized as one of the premier wine growing regions in the world and a prime tourist destination 50 miles from San Francisco. The broad valley spreads alongside the lush Napa River oasis between two mountain ranges. Agricultural lands blend smoothly with a myriad of regional and state parks and thousands of acres of public greenspace.
Day Hikes Around Napa Valley provides the descriptions and directions to access the area's hiking opportunities. Trails can be discovered throughout the valley, across mountain ranges, alongside bays and rivers, and through cool forests. Highlights include steep canyons, secluded redwood forests, the largest freshwater lake in California, a massive petrified forest, rugged rock formations, historical sites, protected wildlife habitats, and expansive ridgetop vistas to the Pacific and San Francisco. A wide range of hikes accommodates amateur to avid hikers, from urban strolls to panoramic peak trails. Also included is comprehensive trail access information for dog owners.
A companion guide is Day Hikes Around Sonoma County.