Napa River & Bay Trail in Napa County

By Rachel Puryear

You may never have heard of the Napa County town of American Canyon. Incorporated relatively recently in the 1990s, it’s a small Napa suburb that sits wedged between Vallejo, CA and Napa CA in the northeastern Bay Area. For many residents, it’s just the right blend of close proximity to the more inner parts of the Bay Area and all that has to offer, while also being a bit further removed from all the hustle and bustle.

American Canyon and its surrounding areas also feature some pretty awesome hiking and views. One nice thing about the area is that it’s not so heavily developed like it is on the other side of the Carquinez Bridge (which connects Vallejo/Solano County and Contra Costa County). Therefore, you can look around and see mountains in the distance, and they’re not covered in houses and pavement for as far as the eye can see. So the town is on the quiet side, and has a relatively relaxed feel.

Napa River & Bay Trail – ducks swimming around on marshland.

One of the jewels of American Canyon is the Napa River & Bay Trail. The Bay Trail does extend around much of the entire Bay Area, including into Napa as well, but the American Canyon portion should not be missed if you’re heading out that way – and AC is easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there.

Sunlight reflecting off the flowing water in the Napa River.

This trail has a diverse array of gorgeous and peaceful sights to see – the flowing river wrapping for miles, rocky shores on the bay going out as far as the eye can see, moss-covered ponds, marshlands and lakes with ducks, swans, and more water birds, and lots of different trails to walk – each with awesome sights. There are many great hikes/rides to be had here.

Colorful wetlands on the Napa River & Bay Trail.

Parts of the trail are paved and wheelchair-accessible. Some entrances to the trail have parking lots, see here for more info about the entrances and directions. There is no fee for parking. There’s an outhouse-style bathroom at most trail entrances, as well as water fountains.

The trail is for both pedestrians and bicyclists, and equestrians are also sometimes seen out there.

Dogs are allowed on the trail, and must be kept on a leash at all times.

The trail is open from sunrise to sunset, daily.

A serene blue-green pond, viewed through several trees, on the Napa River Bay Trail.

If you’re coming through the areas around American Canyon including Vallejo, Benicia, Napa, or Fairfield; be sure to check out this local gem of a trail. You will be glad you did.


Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to great local parks.

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