Cycling Napa Valley: Our Top 9 Rides for Avid Cyclists

The Napa Valley truly embodies the phrase “an embarrassment of riches.” And while it’s natural to assume we’re referring to the top-rated restaurants and more than 500 wineries you’ll find here, we’re actually talking about the bevy of great local Napa cycling routes that are just begging to be explored. Of course, at the end of your ride Napa Valley boasts a dizzying array of top-rated restaurants, casual delis and cafes to replenish your caloric deficit.

The following routes are intended for experienced cyclists who want to get a longer 30-50+ mile ride in while visiting Napa Valley. Many of these routes are very remote and cell phone reception is not always a given. Bring a fully stocked repair kit and plenty of nutrition and water. While these bike routes are frequented by local Napa Valley cyclists, many roads do not have designated bike lanes. Choose a route with respect to your bike handling skills, your experience riding in traffic, the weather, road conditions and your own level of comfort and ride at your own risk.

Napa Valley Bike Tours disclaims any and all responsibility or liability for the safety, accuracy, content or completeness of the directions, maps, cue sheets and route information provided here.


» View Routes with Start/Finish in Napa

Carneros Loop

START/FINISH: 3259 California Blvd., NAPA

22.5 miles ♦ Flat to Rolling ♦ ~1000’ Elevation Gain/Descent

The Carneros Loop is an awesome Napa Valley bike route for cyclists looking for an easier ride (no major climbs) as well as a route that will allow you to escape to Napa’s quieter backroads.

From our Napa shop, you’ll head west through some Napa suburbs for the first two miles before you reach Thompson Ave., your gateway to the Carneros AVA. The Carneros District is at the southern end of Napa Valley, closest to the San Pablo Bay. The coastal influence gives this region a cooler climate, making this a great ride to escape the heat on hot summer days.

Note: Roll into the Carneros Inn hotel property and stop at the Market Deli or Boonfly Cafe to refuel mid-ride.

Optional Out-&-Back Extension (adds 11 miles total):
Add a delicious pit-stop by riding to the Fremont Diner.


Dry Creek Loop

START/FINISH: 3259 California Blvd., NAPA

28.6 miles ♦ Moderate Climbing ♦ ~1300’ elevation gain/descent

The Dry Creek Loop is the perfect blend of workout and scenery packaged in a tidy and totally doable ~28-miles. In other words, you can wake up and get a great ride under your belt before meeting up with your non-cycling friend to go about your day with wine-tasting, sight-seeing and the like. (They”ll never even know you “selfishly” escaped to get your bike ride in!)

As soon as you make the right onto Dry Creek Road, the moderate climb begins as you wind along one of Napa’s quietest country backroads.

This route will take you down the Oakville Grade (famed for its inclusion in the Amgen Tour of California Bike Race where the pros rode UP the quad-crushing 650-foot 1-mile climb). As you start down the descent, don’t resist the urge to pause in one of the pullouts to admire the sweeping panoramic vista – this truly is one of the most spectacular views in the Napa Valley.


Calistoga Out-and-Back

START/FINISH: 3259 California Blvd., NAPA

59 miles ♦ Flat to Rolling ♦ ~1700’ elevation gain/descent

An out-and-back bike ride to Calistoga is an absolute must-do for any cyclist visiting Napa Valley. The Silverado Trail offers up non-stop panoramic views as it skirts the eastern edge of the valley floor. Instead of a straight-up out-and-back, our recommended route takes you on some detours along Hwy. 29 (where there is a 6-8′ wide shoulder) to allow for some additional variety in your scenery.

The town of Calistoga is a great destination to stop for lunch or a mid-ride coffee break. You can always ride this route purely as a scenic workout ride, but most of the cyclists we’ve met can’t resist the urge to pop in to visit a local winery along the way.


Silverado Trail – Image via centralcaliforniacycling.com


Pope Valley Triangle

START/FINISH: 3259 California Blvd., NAPA

49 miles ♦ Moderate Climbing ♦ ~1800’ elevation gain/descent

The Pope Valley Triangle is another favorite bike route among Napa Valley cyclists. You’ll start out along the flat to gently rolling Silverado Trail before turning right onto Sage Canyon Road (Hwy. 128). As you wind past Lake Hennessey, you’ll veer left at the Y-junction to being the clockwise loop. Shortly after the Y-junction, you’ll start reaching for your gears as Chiles Pope Valley Road begins to climb through a narrow winding canyon. A right turn onto Lower Chiles Valley Road will take you through a breathtaking little valley. Another right turn, this time back onto Hwy. 128 (Sage Canyon Road) will help you complete the “triangle” as you wind your way downhill back to the Silverado Trail. From there, you’ll retrace your routing south to return to Napa.

Note: Hwy. 128 has little to no shoulder and is a popular route for boaters heading to Lake Berryessa, especially on weekends; we recommend planning to ride this route Monday-Thursday to minimize sharing the road with trucks towing boat trailers.


Mt. Veeder-Dry Creek Loop

START/FINISH: 3259 California Blvd., NAPA

25.5 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~1700’ elevation gain/descent

The Mt. Veeder Loop is the tried-and-true “backyard loop” for many cyclists who live in Napa Valley. Fair warning: While the climb up Redwood/Mt. Veeder Road starts out mellow with average grades between 3-5%, the final mile to the summit holds 440 feet of climbing, with sustained 8-10% pitches that’ll keep you honest.


View atop Mt. Veeder – Image via starkinsider.com


Dry Creek-Trinity-Carneros Loop

START/FINISH: 3259 California Blvd., NAPA

49 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~2800’ elevation gain/descent

The modest climb (~500′) up Dry Creek Road will be just enough to get your heart pumping, and you’ll be thankful for the thorough warm-up when you hit Trinity Mountain Road for the big climb of the day (~1000′).

The top of Trinity Mountain Road marks the end of the day’s major climbing, with just one-third of your total mileage complete. After descending into Sonoma, you’ll ride past the historic Sonoma Plaza (a great hub for local restaurants, cafes, shopping and the like) and then out through the Carneros.

It should be noted that the Carneros region can be windy (though some days, you’ll luck out and get a ripping tailwind!) and it’s also know for its undulating rolling hills. While it’s true these little rollers are nothing compared to the first two climbs of the day, they can test your fortitude as the day wears on (and the miles add up).

Want Even MORE of a Challenge?
Begin your ride with Mt. Veeder instead of Dry Creek Road to make this ride 52 miles with ~3500′ elevation gain and descent.


Atlas Peak Road

START/FINISH: 3259 California Blvd., NAPA

34.5 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~2700’ elevation gain/descent

Atlas Peak Road is hill climber’s dream, offering up nearly 2000 feet of climbing in an 8-mile package. The road winds up the southeastern side of the Napa Valley (behind Silverado Resort). Best of all, it’s a dead-end road, so you’ll likely be able to count the cars you see during this ride on one hand. The climb includes short stretches of punishing grades, punctuated by merciful plateaus that will grant you time to recover before spiking your heart rate again on the next pitch.

At 2663 feet, Atlas Peak is Napa Valley’s second tallest mountain. Mt. St. Helena is the tallest at 4341 feet, but with no paved road to the summit, you have to hike or mountain bike to reach that pinnacle.


View from Atlas Peak Road


Old Howell Mtn-Pope Valley Loop

START/FINISH: 3259 California Blvd., NAPA

60 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~3300’ elevation gain/descent

This is the most popular way to ride a clockwise loop through Pope Valley. Howell Mountain Road is a favorite local climb and a great quiet mountain road for solitude-seekers. Descending into Pope Valley via Howell Mountain Road is preferable over Ink Grade; while it’s an awesome uphill climb, Ink Grade is an older road with cracks, potholes and other pavement irregularities that make it treacherous for descending.


Cycling through Pope Valley


Pope Valley-Ink Grade Loop

START/FINISH: 3259 California Blvd., NAPA

65 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~3500’ elevation gain/descent

Cyclists looking to make an epic bike ride the centerpiece of their day in Napa Valley, would be hard-pressed to top the Pope Valley-Ink Grade Loop. You’ll start out rolling north along the Silverado Trail, admiring postcard-ready vineyard views. Just when your legs feel thoroughly warmed up, you’ll turn off onto Sage Canyon Road and the route will begin to gently climb as you leave the busy valley floor behind you and wind past Lake Hennessey and up through the narrows of Pope Canyon. As your enter the heart of Pope Valley, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back in time to the Wild West.

Be sure to stop and top off your tank at the Pope Valley Market (5850 Pope Valley Road) – it is the only store you’ll pass along this route. You’ll be glad you did when you start the climb up Ink Grade, which winds and twists its way more than 1100 feet over 4.5 miles. You’ll descend back into Napa Valley via White Cottage and Deer Park Roads and the Silverado Trail will be your southbound return artery towards Napa.

» View Routes with Start/Finish in Yountville

Carneros Loop

START/FINISH: 6500 Washington St., YOUNTVILLE

34 miles ♦ Flat to Rolling ♦ ~1100’ Elevation Gain/Descent

The Carneros Loop is an awesome Napa Valley bike route for cyclists looking for an easier ride (no major climbs) as well as a route that will allow you to escape to Napa’s quieter backroads.

From Yountville, you’ll head south along Solano Ave. and through Napa’s Browns Valley neighborhood, which will be your gateway to the Carneros AVA. The Carneros District is at the southern end of Napa Valley, closest to the San Pablo Bay. The coastal influence gives this region a cooler climate, making this a great ride to escape the heat on hot summer days.

Optional Out-&-Back Extension (adds 11 miles total):
Add a delicious pit-stop by riding to the Fremont Diner.


Dry Creek Loop

START/FINISH: 6500 Washington St., YOUNTVILLE

24 miles ♦ Moderate Climbing ♦ ~1200’ elevation gain/descent

The Dry Creek Loop is the perfect blend of workout and scenery packaged in a tidy and totally doable 24-miles. In other words, you can wake up and get a great ride under your belt before meeting up with your non-cycling friend to go about your day with wine-tasting, sight-seeing and the like. (They”ll never even know you “selfishly” escaped to get your bike ride in!)

From Yountville, you’ll head south and appreciate 5 pancake-flat miles of proper warm up before you arrive at Dry Creek Road. As soon as you make the right onto Dry Creek Road, the moderate climb begins as you wind along one of Napa’s quietest country backroads.

This route will take you down the Oakville Grade (famed for its inclusion in the Amgen Tour of California Bike Race where the pros rode UP the quad-crushing 650-foot 1-mile climb). As you start down the descent, don’t resist the urge to pause in one of the pullouts to admire the sweeping panoramic vista – this truly is one of the most spectacular views in the Napa Valley.


Calistoga Out-and-Back

START/FINISH: 6500 Washington St., YOUNTVILLE

46 miles ♦ Flat to Rolling ♦ ~1500’ elevation gain/descent

An out-and-back bike ride to Calistoga is an absolute must-do for any cyclist visiting Napa Valley. The Silverado Trail offers up non-stop panoramic views as it skirts the eastern edge of the valley floor. Instead of a straight-up out-and-back, our recommended route takes you on some detours along Hwy. 29 (where there is a 6-8′ wide shoulder) to allow for some additional variety in your scenery.

The town of Calistoga is a great destination to stop for lunch or a mid-ride coffee break. You can always ride this route purely as a scenic workout ride, but most of the cyclists we’ve met can’t resist the urge to pop in to visit a local winery along the way.


Silverado Trail – Image via centralcaliforniacycling.com


Pope Valley Triangle

START/FINISH: 6500 Washington St., YOUNTVILLE

36 miles ♦ Moderate Climbing ♦ ~1600’ elevation gain/descent

The Pope Valley Triangle is another favorite bike route among Napa Valley cyclists. You’ll start out along the flat to gently rolling Silverado Trail before turning right onto Sage Canyon Road (Hwy. 128). As you wind past Lake Hennessey, you’ll veer left at the Y-junction to being the clockwise loop. Shortly after the Y-junction, you’ll start reaching for your gears as Chiles Pope Valley Road begins to climb through a narrow winding canyon. A right turn onto Lower Chiles Valley Road will take you through a breathtaking little valley. Another right turn, this time back onto Hwy. 128 (Sage Canyon Road) will help you complete the “triangle” as you wind your way downhill back to the Silverado Trail. From there, you’ll retrace your routing south to return to Yountville.

Note: Hwy. 128 has little to no shoulder and is a popular route for boaters heading to Lake Berryessa, especially on weekends; we recommend planning to ride this route Monday-Thursday to minimize sharing the road with trucks towing boat trailers.


Mt. Veeder Loop

START/FINISH: 6500 Washington St., YOUNTVILLE

31 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~2000’ elevation gain/descent

The Mt. Veeder Loop is the tried-and-true “backyard loop” for many cyclists who live in Napa Valley. If the map looks familiar, that’s because this bike route is nearly identical to the Dry Creek Loop, but the climb up Redwood/Mt. Veeder Road offers more of a challenge, with ~900 additional feet of climbing.

Fair warning: While the climb up Redwood/Mt. Veeder Road starts out mellow with average grades between 3-5%, the final mile to the summit holds 440 feet of climbing, with sustained 8-10% pitches that’ll keep you honest.


View atop Mt. Veeder – Image via starkinsider.com


Dry Creek-Trinity-Carneros Loop

START/FINISH: 6500 Washington St., YOUNTVILLE

56 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~2800’ elevation gain/descent

Experience the best of Napa and Sonoma Valley on this epic local bike ride. Starting from Yountville, you’ll head south towards Napa, logging 5-6 flat warm-up miles before heading up Dry Creek Road. The modest climb (~500′) up Dry Creek Road will be just enough to get your heart pumping, and you’ll be thankful for the thorough warm-up when you hit Trinity Mountain Road for the big climb of the day (~1000′).

The top of Trinity Mountain Road marks the end of the day’s major climbing, with just one-third of your total mileage complete. After descending into Sonoma, you’ll ride past the historic Sonoma Plaza (a great hub for local restaurants, cafes, shopping and the like) and then out through the Carneros.

It should be noted that the Carneros region can be windy (though some days, you’ll luck out and get a ripping tailwind!) and it’s also know for its undulating rolling hills. While it’s true these little rollers are nothing compared to the first two climbs of the day, but they can sneak up and your fortitude as the day wears on (and the miles add up).

Want Even MORE of a Challenge?
Begin your ride with Mt. Veeder instead of Dry Creek Road to make this ride 63 miles with ~3600′ elevation gain and descent.


Atlas Peak Road

START/FINISH: 6500 Washington St., YOUNTVILLE

38 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~2800’ elevation gain/descent

Atlas Peak Road is hill climber’s dream, offering up nearly 2000 feet of climbing in a 8-mile package. The road winds up the southeastern side of the Napa Valley (behind Silverado Resort). Best of all, it’s a dead-end road, so you’ll likely be able to count the cars you see during this ride on one hand. The climb includes short stretches of punishing grades, punctuated by merciful plateaus that will grant you time to recover before spiking your heart rate again on the next pitch.

At 2663 feet, Atlas Peak is Napa Valley’s second tallest mountain. Mt. St. Helena is the tallest at 4341 feet, but with no paved road to the summit, you have to hike or mountain bike to reach that pinnacle.


View from Atlas Peak Road


Old Howell Mtn-Pope Valley Loop

START/FINISH: 6500 Washington St., YOUNTVILLE

46 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~3000’ elevation gain/descent

This is the most popular way to ride a clockwise loop through Pope Valley. Howell Mountain Road is a favorite local climb and a great quiet mountain road for solitude-seekers. Descending into Pope Valley via Howell Mountain Road is preferable over Ink Grade; while it’s an awesome uphill climb, Ink Grade is an older road with cracks, potholes and other pavement irregularities that make it treacherous for descending.


Cycling through Pope Valley


Pope Valley-Ink Grade Loop

START/FINISH: 6500 Washington St., YOUNTVILLE

51 miles ♦ Significant Climbing ♦ ~3200’ elevation gain/descent

Cyclists looking to make an epic bike ride the centerpiece of their day in Napa Valley, would be hard-pressed to top the Pope Valley-Ink Grade Loop. You’ll start out rolling north along the Silverado Trail, admiring postcard-ready vineyard views. Just when your legs feel thoroughly warmed up, you’ll turn off onto Sage Canyon Road and the route will begin to gently climb as you leave the busy valley floor behind you and wind past Lake Hennessey and up through the narrows of Pope Canyon. As your enter the heart of Pope Valley, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back in time to the Wild West.

Be sure to stop and top off your tank at the Pope Valley Market (5850 Pope Valley Road) – it is the only store you’ll pass along this route. You’ll be glad you did when you start the climb up Ink Grade, which winds and twists its way more than 1100 feet over 4.5 miles. You’ll descend back into Napa Valley via White Cottage and Deer Park Roads and the Silverado Trail will be your southbound return artery to Yountville.