The Meadowood Loop offers varying degrees of difficulty. Proper sports or hiking shoes are required. Water bottles are recommended for guests embarking on the estate's longer hikes.
Long before Meadowood became a haven for discerning travelers, this sheltered stretch of Napa Valley, ringed by rugged, wooded hillsides, served as farmland. In many ways, little has changed in the bucolic landscape over the years. Nature here is still respected—not tamed. The estate's architecture is designed to harmonize with the native terrain, and indigenous trees and flowers still grow wild. Rather than engineer paths or plantings, Meadowood's grounds staff allows nature to be the creative director.
Circling the estate is the Meadowood Loop, just over four miles of scenic hiking trails that wind through the woods, rising to heights of more than 600 feet and culminating in breathtaking views of Napa Valley. The Meadowood Loop follows the same path that many deer created years ago while meandering through the woods on the estate.
Aside from a few water bottle stations and benches placed at strategic locations, and two delightful picnic sites, the local flora is left to its own ingenious devices. Hikers may admire an array of the region's plants and trees as they follow the Loop up its eastern paths, where California buckeye, coast live oaks, as well as native scrub like chaparral, manzanita and chamise are plentiful. These give way to stately Douglas fir trees as the trail ascends to reveal panoramas of the neighboring Mayacamas Mountains, the city of St. Helena and Napa Valley's ever-present vineyards at its crest. The trail meanders gradually back down toward gentler terrain on the western slopes of the property, which are dominated by black oak and more Douglas firs with a tangle of wild rose and bracken fern at their bases.
Robin on Apple Tree
The woods along the Loop are a birdwatcher's paradise. More than 106 species have been identified and observant hikers are apt to spot a variety of hummingbirds, woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, finches and orioles. Lucky guests may even enjoy the luxury of sighting a golden or bald eagle. Besides small birds, other wildlife that makes a home at Meadowood are wild turkey, ducks, deer, raccoons, gray squirrels and jackrabbits.
The Meadowood Loop is lovely at any hour of the day from sunrise to sunset. Two charming picnic sites, available by reservation, are the perfect settings for intimate lunches or dinners, with service provided by the Meadowood culinary staff. During the warm-weather season in particular, hiking and picnics are among the most memorable experiences on the Meadowood estate.