Bothe-Napa Valley State Park: The Complete Guide

Ferns and redwood trees in Bothe State Park, Napa Valley, California.

Katherine Gallagher

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Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

Address
3801 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515-9652, USA
Phone +1 707-942-4575

Located in the Napa Valley, Bothe State Park provides a relaxing reprieve from the area’s many wine-heavy attractions and luxury accommodations. This 1,990-acre park was established in 1960 and is known for containing the farthest inland coastal redwoods found in a California state park, some of which have been around for over 100 years. Inside the park, find more than 10 miles of well-maintained hiking trails, a public swimming pool, and plenty of wildlife from the smallest pollinators to graceful black-tailed deer.

Just like Napa Valley as a whole, Bothe State Park has something to offer regardless of the season. When spring arrives, the park’s rolling hills are graced with vibrant wildflowers, while in summer, the towering Douglas fir and redwood forests present shaded trails to escape the heat. Even the colder months flaunt stunning fall foliage and year-round camping.

Bothe State Park was severely affected by the 2020 Glass Fire, one of the most destructive wildfires in California history. Don't let the fire damage stop you from visiting, however; seeing the new regrowth where the foliage and trees previously burned is a unique experience and a true display of nature's resiliency.

Things to Do

Although Bothe certainly isn’t the largest state park in California, there are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy, including picnicking, camping, swimming, and hiking. Most visitors come to the park to experience the natural resources and wildlife, such as the six different species of woodpecker who reside there, or the scenic vistas from the park’s highest elevation at 2,000 feet above sea level. Animals like coyotes, raccoons, and mountain lions are more rarely seen due to their nocturnal nature, though they are still around.

The park has 50 picnic tables spread throughout, each with access to barbeque stoves and water faucets. Campsite picnic tables are reserved for registered campers and there is a large group picnic site with a shaded pavilion, a sink, and an electrical outlet available for bigger groups by reservation as well (must be reserved directly through the park by calling 707-942-4575).

When you arrive, check out the park’s Visitor Center near the entrance for more information about the Wappo Native American tribes who lived in the area from about 6,000 B.C. There are displays of plants, tools, ceremonial artifacts, and baskets used by the Wappo inside the center, as well as historic photos of the park’s early days.

Redwood Trail in Bothe State Park, Napa Valley, California.

Katherine Gallagher

Best Hikes & Trails

Bothe boasts 10 miles of trails in 12 different loops available for hiking, horseback riding, and cycling. Hikes range from moderately strenuous to easy and family friendly with elevations ranging from 300 feet above sea level to nearly 2,000 feet.

  • Coyote Peak Trail: The most popular trail in Bothe, Coyote Peak Trail takes hikers on a 1.5-mile climb to the park’s highest peak. Once at the top, there are views of the surrounding valley and hills including Mount Saint Helena and Upper Ritchy Canyon.
  • History Trail: This 1.1-mile long trail starts at the picnic area and ends at the historic Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park where it’s possible to see grain being milled with a partially-restored, 19th century 36-foot wooden water wheel on the weekends. The trail also goes past the Pioneer Cemetery, where some of the Napa Valley’s original settlers are buried.
  • Ritchey Canyon Trail: Another area of historical importance, the Ritchey Canyon Trail leads to a homestead site that dates back to the 1800s. The hike runs over 4 miles along Ritchey Creek before arriving at the homestead.
  • Redwood Trail: Redwood Trail travels along the creek on a shaded path through maples, oaks, and of course, redwood trees. The 3-mile hike is perfect for all skill levels and is one of the best spots to see wildflowers bloom in the spring.

Swimming Pool

Filled with natural spring water, the Bothe State Park swimming pool is a favorite for local families during the hot days of summer. The pool is open to the public from Memorial Day until Labor Day on Saturdays and Sundays only (with a lifeguard on duty during open hours). There is an additional fee to use the swimming pool that must be paid at the park’s entrance.

Where to Camp

There are 45 tent and RV-friendly campsites inside the park’s campground, as well as one group site and ten furnished yurts. Most of the yurts and regular campsites are by reservation only, though there are nine walk-in sites and one hiker/cyclist site on property that are first-come, first-served.

Camping yurt in Bothe State Park, Napa Valley, California.

Katherine Gallagher

Where to Stay Nearby

With a location almost exactly between two of Napa Valley’s quaintest towns, visitors to Bothe have the difficult decision of choosing between St. Helena and Calistoga for the closest accommodations. Keep in mind that these small towns are charming for a reason—there isn’t much nightlife and the biggest attractions are restaurants and winery tasting rooms. Plus, the choices for accommodations are limited. Head a bit farther south to the city of Napa for more budget-friendly options and a wider selection.

  • Calistoga Inn: With just 17 rooms that all share a common restroom and shower, the Calistoga Inn in the nearby town of Calistoga is all about location. It will still cost an average of about $150-$200 per night for a basic room (without air conditioning), but the front doors open right up into main street and an attaching bar/restaurant.
  • Auberge du Soleil: This five-star resort in Rutherford between St. Helena and Napa is adults-only and famous for its spa, pool, and French restaurant. The luxury accommodation is tucked into a quiet hillside overlooking the vineyards and hosts 50 deluxe rooms and massive suites. You get what you pay for here, as rooms can start at a whopping $900 a night during the busy season.
  • El Bonita Motel: A rare budget-friendly hotel upvalley (and by budget we mean $150 a night), El Bonita offers quaint rooms in one of the best parts of the Napa wine country. Its retro vibe and historic central location, along with amenities like a pool and hot tub, are definitely worth a look.
  • The Napa Inn: Located within walking distance from downtown Napa, this little bed and breakfast is a hidden gem on Warren Street. With spa services and sophisticated guest rooms, the Napa Inn is a great place for a romantic getaway about 20 miles from Bothe. Rooms start in the $250-$300 range in the late summer.

How to Get There

Find Bothe State Park 5 miles north of St. Helena and four miles south of Calistoga off of Highway 29/128. If you’re coming from Napa, expect at least a 30-minute drive north on the 29, and about an hour and a half from San Francisco.

Accessibility

Parking at Bothe State Park is accessible, and there are also three accessible RV sites and four accessible yurts near restrooms with roll-in showers. Both the day-use and group picnic areas have accessible parking, restrooms, tables, and showers as well. An accessible pool lift is also available during the swimming pool open hours in the summer.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Except for service animals, there are no dogs allowed in the pool area or any of the hiking trails. Dogs are allowed in the campground and in picnic areas, though they must be kept on a leash, in a tent, or in a vehicle at all times.
  • Bothe is notorious for having a lot of poison oak, so be sure to stay on the marked trails and keep an eye out for “leaves of three” to avoid a severe rash.
  • It’s illegal to move or disturb the natural features of the park, including wood (even if it is already on the ground). Camp hosts can provide locally-sourced firewood for a fee.
  • Brochures and hiking maps are available at the Visitor Center. Maps are essential if you plan on venturing out for a hike, as some of the trails aren’t well marked.
  • Temperatures rarely dip below freezing in the area and it almost never snows, but the park does see a fair amount of rain during the winter months from December to March. Come prepared with rain gear if you plan on visiting during this time.
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Bothe-Napa Valley State Park: The Complete Guide