Historic Bale Mill

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Visiting Bale Grist Mill in the heart of Napa Valley offers a fascinating peek into Californians’ rural heritage.  Built in 1846 by Edward Turner Bale, this fully restored water-powered grist mill still grinds grain.  Visitors can watch the original set of French Buhr millstones in action when the miller grinds grain into Bale Mill flours and meals. In the late 1800s, Napa Valley farmers brought their grain to the mill where it was placed into the boot of an elevator to be mechanically transported upstairs to be cleaned and sifted by various types of equipment – a technical wonder for the Pioneers. The slow turning of the old grind stones gives the fresh meal a special quality for making cornbread, yellowbread, shortening bread and spoon bread. As old timers put it, “When meal comes to you that way, like the heated underside of a settin’ hen, it bakes bread that makes city bread taste like cardboard.”

Enjoy one of the wonderful tastes of the past when you take home a bag of Bale Mill product (available for small donation).  Bale Grist Mill products include polenta, cornmeal, spelt, buckwheat, rye, and whole-wheat flours, all organic and stone ground in the mill. Visitors can also shop for gifts in the historic granary gift shop. The tree-filled area surrounding the mill offers a welcome spot for a picnic before or after your mill tour.

Bale Grist Mill is located between the towns of St Helena and Calistoga on Highway 29/128.  You can either park at the Bale Mill parking lot or hike the History Trail from Bothe-Napa Valley State Park to the mill (about 2 miles round trip).

HOURS - Open weekends 10:00 – 5:00 (mill tours until 4:00)
Year-round: Saturday and Sunday the grounds are open 10:00 to 5:00 with tours of the mill 10:00 to 4:00.
School year: The mill is available Wednesday and Thursday 10:00 and 11:00 for school tours. Pre-scheduling is required at 


The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.


Adults $5.00.
Children 6 to 17 $2.00.
Children under 6 are free.
School tours, Wednesday or Thursday, by reservation, at $100 per class.
Information or reservations: info@napavalleystateparks.org or call the mill at (707) 963-2236.
ADA accessible.

Click below to view a California State Parks brochure for the Bale Grist Mill!




Bale Mill Pancake Breakfast every May

The best pancakes you have ever tasted!  Enjoy them with real maple syrup, fruit and sausage!  These pancakes are made just for you using an old family recipe – and what could be better than enjoying them outdoors under oak trees at the mill! This breakfast is a membership drive – all members welcome and those who want to join up!

Enjoying pancakes at the mill.
Young mill volunteers learn to flip pancakes!
New members join up!

Harvest Dinner – 10 September 2016

Celebrate the harvest season with us at our annual fundraiser dinner. Every fall NVSPA, the nonprofit Association that supports all three state parks in Napa County, hosts an outdoor candle light dinner under the majestic oaks at the foot of the great waterwheel. This autumn event features a sumptuous farm-to-table dinner prepared from locally grown/raised food paired with fantastic Napa Valley wines. Mill around with us and enjoy bidding on silent auction items while listening to old-time music played by local musicians. Our miller will give special tours of the now fully restored 1846 mill that still grinds grain using the original stones. Your ticket price and donations will help keep the great wheel turning! Tickets online at BrownPaperTickets.com or call Jeanne at (707) 538-1647. $125.00
Guests enjoy a farm-to-table didner at the foot of the great water wheel!

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Guests enjoy a farm-to-table dinner at the foot of the great water wheel.

Old Mill Days – October 1 & 2 in 2016.

Children enjoy wearing a pioneer outfit at
Old Mill Days!


Old Mill Days buckaroo!


Children learn about spinning wool.
Our most popular activity – making cornhusk dolls!
A proud doll maker!
Cornhusk doll – no two are alike.
Dad’s make cornhusk dolls too!
Children learn apple pressing can be hard work!
Children enjoy learning about 1850s/1860s clothes.
Historically, children would have earned flour for their family by operating the corn sheller at the local mill.
Learning about a soldier’s life in the 1860s.
Discipline is important!


Period dress is worn at Old Mill Days.
Come mill around with us!

 Pioneer Christmas at Bale Grist Mill – 10 December 2016

Every Christmas season, Bale Grist Mill hosts a 19th century Christmas celebration, pioneer style. Enjoy making a clove pomander or wreath of rosemary for your home, or string popcorn and cranberries for the tree. Write a letter to Santa in calligraphy and seal with red wax. Children especially enjoy decorating gingerbread cookies or cutting paper snowflakes. There are demonstrations throughout the day: lace making, wool spinning, waxed egg decorating and milling demonstrations. Cookies and cider too!


Children enjoy cutting paper snowflakes to take home and decorate for their tree!


Artisans demonstrate traditional decorating – like waxing eggs to hang on a tree or fill a wood bowl.


Make a lemon and clove pomander that will smell wonderful and last for weeks!


Visitors learn about the ancient art of wax resistant egg dying.


Sometimes we can make our holiday decorations outdoors!

For more information about park events, click on the Events tab at the top.

Occasionally, the mill buildings and grounds are available for small wedding ceremonies or small family gatherings. For more information: info@napavalleystateparks.org.


  • Adults $5.00.
  • Children 6 to 17 $2.00.
  • Children under 6 are free.
  • School tours, Wednesday or Thursday, by reservation, at $100 per class.
  • Information or reservations: info@napavalleystateparks.org or call the mill at (707) 963-2236.
  • ADA accessible.