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Calistoga to St. Helena Vine Trail opening scheduled for August

After multiple construction and budget delays, the 8.2-mile stretch of the Napa Valley Vine Trail connecting Calistoga to St. Helena is expected to be open to the public in early August.

The Dunaweal bridge was installed in August 2023 so Vine Trail walkers, runners and riders can cross over the Napa Valley River. | Photo courtesy Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition 

After multiple construction and budget delays, the 8.2-mile stretch of the Napa Valley Vine Trail connecting Calistoga to St. Helena is expected to be open to the public in early August.

However, an official grand opening is scheduled for Aug. 16 and 17, when public and private events and ribbon cutting ceremonies will be held over the two days. The community will be invited to enjoy music along the full stretch of the trail and to participate in a scavenger hunt on Saturday, Aug. 17 from 8 a.m. to noon.

The northernmost stretch of the trail broke ground in May 2022 and was expected to be completed last August. Back-to-back heavy rainy seasons and construction issues delayed the opening to November, and then again to spring.

The holdups also led to shortfalls in the budget for the trail. Calistoga initially paid $242,000 to fund the bike and pedestrian path, which runs mostly alongside Highway 29. In 2023 the City Council authorized an $79,000, then additional $133,000 toward cost overruns, and this April, agreed to pay another $140,000, bringing Calistoga’s total out of pocket costs and fees for the project are just shy of $600,000. 

The full construction cost of the section was initially projected to cost roughly $14 million but is now estimated at just over $16 million, according to Calistoga’s Public Works Director Derek Rayner. $3 million of that cost, he said, has so far been divided amongst local jurisdictions and agencies. 

The cities of Calistoga and St. Helena are each contributing 19 percent to the total cost of the trail section, Napa County is contributing 37 percent, and the remaining 25 percent is being covered by the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition.

The full 47-mile pathway will span six municipalities and 10 American Viticultural Areas in linking Calistoga with Vallejo and to San Francisco via ferry service. The path will be a Class I, shared-use trail, which follows state-regulated safety guidelines and will be 10 feet wide with two-foot shoulders on either side.

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