“Possibly the best out and back you'll ever ride!”
— Brian Kennedy
Oat Hill Mine Road rises steadily above Calistoga and takes you through some great scenery and challenging terrain. You can turn around once you get to the top (around 4.5 miles in) and head back down, or continue on and explore even more of the land towards Aetna Springs.
Need to Know
Trail holds up nicely during the wet months of winter.
There can be a lot of hikers during the first/last couple miles, stay in complete control.
This ride has a ton of technical fun on the way up and down. The first few miles of the climb are pretty gradual and well graded. Near the top you'll find unrelenting chunk that will work you over hard.
Although I have marked this ride as 55% singletrack, the quality of the trail is great from top to bottom. The trail is quite rough most of the ride but that does not detract from the difficulty or fun factor.
History & Background
From the Oat Hill Mine Trail brochure: With the discovery of cinnabar deposits in the late 1800s Napa County saw the development of several mines to extract the ore and produce quicksilver (mercury). The most productive of several mines in the area was the Oat Hill Mine which accounted for one third of the total U.S. production of quicksilver from its discovery in 1872 until the late 1960s. The mine was idle from 1923 to 1927 when it reopened and operated continuously through 1944. After the Second World War mining profits fell, and mining ceased in the late 1960s.
More info: napaoutdoors.org/parks-trai…