The picturesque landscape of Napa Valley has long been cherished for its vineyards, rolling hills, and serene state parks. However, the tranquility was shattered in February when fierce storms wreaked havoc on the region, leaving Napa Valley State Parks battered and bruised.

The aftermath of the storms revealed a scene of significant destruction at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Trees, some centuries old, were uprooted, causing damage to water lines, vehicles, and park infrastructure. Branches, like giant limbs, crushed cars and roofs, while landslides erased trails, leaving behind scars on the landscape.

Among the tales of devastation, one saga stood out—the incident of the broken pipe and the colossal root ball. A massive 10-foot-diameter root ball, along with the 60-inch-diameter redwood tree it was connected to, careened down a hillside, obliterating everything in its path, including the Ritchey Canyon trail. Removing such a behemoth required the deployment of a 50,000-pound excavator. However, the true challenge lay beneath the surface.

Initially, it seemed like a straightforward repair—a burst water pipe gushing water onto the trail. An 18-inch section was swiftly replaced, but as the line was recharged, another break emerged 10 ft upstream. This pattern repeated relentlessly, revealing a frustrating cycle of repair and revelation. Each fix unearthed another hidden flaw, buried within the clay-mud-ridden terrain.

Park staff found themselves in a relentless battle against nature. They dug out the thick, heavy clay mud, only to have their efforts inundated by rain, which flooded the freshly dug holes. Undeterred, they persisted, draining the water, and digging once more. Four arduous weeks passed, with approximately 90 feet of water pipes replaced within the park.

The recent trials faced by Napa Valley State Parks following February’s storms have been nothing short of formidable. From fallen trees to ruptured water lines, the challenges have been as varied as they have been daunting. However, amidst this adversity, the resilience of both the parks and their dedicated staff shines through.

As repair efforts forge ahead, we are pleased to announce the reopening of certain trails to day users. However, it’s crucial to note that while some sections are accessible, the campground remains closed. We kindly ask visitors to respect these closures, allowing our staff to continue their vital repair work.

Effective as of March 9th, some trails within Bothe-Napa Valley State Park are open for hiking. These include the Redwood Trail, History Trail, Vineyard Trail, and Coyote Peak Trail. However, please be mindful that the trail system remains wet and muddy in areas, and some trails still require repair. Additionally, caution is advised around Ritchey Creek, as water levels are still elevated, making usual creek crossings inadvisable.

For the safety of all visitors, other trails, including the Southfork Trail, Upper Ritchey Canyon Trail, Ritchey Canyon Trail, and Spring Trail, will remain closed until further notice. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in adhering to these closures.

Please take note of the following important information:

  • The park’s water and restroom facilities are currently unavailable. A portable toilet is provided at the trailhead, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own drinking water.
  • Until repairs are completed, the Ritchey Trail must be avoided, and closure signs must be respected.
  • Bicycle use is not recommended until the trails have had time to dry out, and equestrian use is temporarily prohibited due to trail conditions and connectivity issues.

As we continue to navigate these challenges, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the community for its patience and support!

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UPDATE – March 22, 2024

Some great news this Friday afternoon – Bothe-Napa Valley SP is back in action!

Campgrounds, cabins, and yurts are all back open for use and the park has water restored.

All trails are open except for the lower section of the Ritchey Canyon Trail. Ritchey Canyon Trail hikers must observe closure signs and stay out of closed areas until repairs are complete and safe for the public. Hikers wanting to make a loop will need to return on the Redwood Trail.

Thanks to everyone who’s helped us work through the storm damage, and for your patience while we got the park back up and running.

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