Why We Need the VINE TRAIL


By Maureen Gaffney

Biking and walking versus driving are “good for the environment.” This is a relatively universal understanding. The transportation sector accounts for 28% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and a global shift away from internal combustion for short commutes, school trips, and errands could make a real impact. But that’s not the kind of “Vine-Trail-and-The-Environment” piece you are reading today. In this story, it is the environment itself that does the work. 

In survey after survey, those interviewed say that a safe, separate, inviting walking and cycling environment are key factors in determining their choice to ditch the car. As luck would have it, the Napa Valley VINE TRAIL offers just such a thing. With over 19 miles complete and in place today—and with 12.5 of those miles contiguous between Kennedy Park in Napa and downtown Yountville, the VINE TRAIL can deliver you GHG free by foot or by wheel to and from the following quintessential Napa Valley destinations:

  • Kennedy Park pump track, picnic grounds, and river/fishing access to Oxbow Market (or Stone Brewing in that iconic riverside building…) for lunch and gourmet browsing—2.5 miles.
  • Oxbow to RAD—Rail Arts District—just a hop, skip and jump from the Oxbow, this short but growing segment of trail features large murals from near and far, with new installations coming soon.
  • RAD to Yountville and the French Laundry where you likely can’t dine for any number of reasons (not rich, not famous, not on the wait list since the turn-of-the-century), but hey, you can take a selfie in front of the sign or gaze upon the beautiful gardens for free. And the Bouchon Bakery is within reach, and is a culinary delight in its own right. And if you pedaled or walked the seven miles from Napa, the 16 gazillion calories are okay.

And so the Napa Valley VINE TRAIL is in itself a positive feedback loop. The trail environment provides opportunities for visitors, residents, students to get out of pollution-emitting vehicles, and foregoing internal combustion is good for the environment. Lather, rinse, repeat. And when the eight miles between St. Helena and Calistoga are completed in 2022, ever more options for car-free conveyance will be on offer.

Click here to download a VINE TRAIL map from Kennedy Park to Yountville

Click here to view the VINE TRAIL route study from Yountville to St Helena

Click here to view the VINE TRAIL route study through St Helena