Hidden Napa Valley back country

A small reservoir on a bend of Redwood Creek in Napa.

The mountains and vineyards of Napa Valley are some of the area’s best known scenic beauty, but if you know where to look you can find gems of more wild scenery.

One spot is tucked away in the far corner of a small valley carved through the mountains by Redwood Creek. A couple of buddies and me hiked to Devils Well, a small chain of waterfalls that make a dramatic fall down a ravine. The land is managed by the Land Trust of Napa County, which has maintained a good trail. The trek starts out in a redwood grove and after a steep, initial climb you amble through more redwoods and oaks until you reach the falls. When we made our trip the falls were just a small trickle, but it’s still an impressive sight. The “well” is a natural pool that has been created by a waterfall in a small cleft of rock. You stand in what is like a small natural amphitheatre surrounded by towering cliffs. The creek flows out of the well before plunging another 100 feet down to another pool.

The trail begins in a grove of redwoods.

My friend John grew up in the area and recalled jumping into Devils Well when he was a teenager and not being able to touch the bottom.

It being about 55 degrees when we were making our recent hike, my friends and weren’t about to jump into the water. While it was chilly, the sun was still shining bright and we would often pause in clearings to warm up in the sunshine. During one pause we noticed that the ground was covered with ladybugs. The trail to Devils Well may be a little short, but around every bend there was great things to see in the details. John had mentioned he thought it was the time of year when ladybugs would be hatching, and it was just amazing to see everything on the ground covered in the small, red insects.

A hatch of ladybugs.

A hatch of ladybugs.

Parts of the trail do require you to scramble over boulders and through tight crevices, so you need to be in moderate shape to make the walk. Thankfully all the work pays off with a great reward, being able to enjoy the beauty of the well.

On our return trip we stopped by a small reservoir on the creek and skipped stones. It was a fun end to a great day hike.

Access is through permission from the land trust. The trail is a little small, so if you do find yourself behind another group it’s best to pause and keep some distance.

Here are some more pictures from the hike:

A slug hangs off the side of a rock.

A slug hangs off the side of a rock along the trail.

Approaching the cliffs that surround Devils Well.

More ladybugs!

Walking into the entrance to the well.

Bennie perched on a cliff above the ravine.

John and Ben standing near the well.

The view down the ravine.

Everybody had their cameras out all day.

Everyone had their cameras out all day.

Further downstream, one can also explore a small reservoir created near a bend of the creek beneath a huge boulder.

Ben said the boulder and the reservoir were quite a "Mayan sight." I'm not sure what he meant by that. (We did have a bottle of Markers Mark with us to keep warm.)

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