If you and your pooch are looking to get far away from civilization, look no fur-ther than Napa’s Long Canyon Trail! One of the most remote trails in the whole county, the 9.5-mile loop is located in Knoxville Wildlife Area, a preserve little-frequented by anyone but hunters. The route can technically be done in an afternoon, but if you and your buddy would like to take your time, you two can pitch your tent at Hunting Creek Camp on Knoxville Deadhead Rd. You might be better off bedding down somewhere along the trail, though -- the trailhead and parking lot, at Mile Marker 28 on Berryessa/Knoxville Rd., is pretty far inside the preserve. Dispersed camping is permitted in the Knoxville Wildlife Area, as long as you stay at least a quarter-mile away from Berryessa/Knoxville Rd.
The loop first meanders along Eticuera Creek, and heads into the mountains of the Knoxville Wildlife Area, passing through grassy meadows, stately, mature oak trees, and an old pond. Avid birders might want to keep an eye out for belted kingfishers and golden eagles! You’ll also be treated to some fantastic views of Mount St. Helena and the valley below. The route crosses the creek at several points, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear!
Though the Long Canyon Trail isn’t the most difficult hike in the area, a certain level of fitness is required. The first part of the trail has some steep inclines, and even apart from the creek crossings, the surface can be quite uneven. The athletic animals among us are sure to have a pawesome time, though! In terms of facilities, this is a true wilderness trail -- there aren’t any restrooms, and you’ll need to bring your own water. If you do decide to camp, keep in mind that open fires aren’t permitted -- you’ll have to bring a portable stove or prepare to shiver. Be sure to bring enough provisions with you, and have a furrific hike!