Ken Stanton, author of Mount St. Helena & R.L. Stevenson State Park: A history and guide, Great Day Hikes In and Around Napa Valley, and Napa Valley Picnic: A California Wine Country Travel Companion, gave an informative and animated talk on hikes in the surrounding counties (Lake, Napa, and Colusa). Over forty attendees learned about lesser-known hiking trails, as well as historical highlights of those areas. He discussed the Blue Ridge trails (off Hwy 16), the Redbud Trail towards Wilson Valley (off Hwy 20), the Zim Zim Falls trail (off Knoxville-Berryessa Rd. which intersects Morgan Valley Rd. to the north and Pope Canyon Rd. in the south), the Baldy Mountain trail (accessible via Bear Valley Rd. or Walker Ridge Rd., both off Hwy. 20), and the Aetna Springs trail east of the Palisades (off Butts Canyon/Pope Valley Rd.).
The audience was treated to fascinating stories of settlers’ lives, of the once world-famous Bartlett Springs in the late 1800’s, as well as more recent anecdotes when outdoor enthusiasts and historians like Ken fought to ensure that access to places such as Table Rock and the Palisades were opened up for public enjoyment and recreation.
Ken also passed around a binder with historical photographs of towns and settlers in the area, but for more details and pictures, his book (written in an engaging style) Mount St. Helena & R.L. Stevenson State Park: A history and guide, is an invaluable guide not just on the history, but also on the geology, flora and fauna of the area. The talk concluded with a walk along the Interpretive Trail.
Many thanks to Ken for sharing his knowledge of the history as well as locations of those tucked-away hiking destinations. We are thankful to him, the volunteers, and officials who have heightened public awareness and access to these beautiful spots!