ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON STATE PARK
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON STATE PARK
Robert Louis Stevenson State Park
Robert Louis Stevenson State Park is the place where the famous author of Treasure Island and Kidnapped spent his honeymoon in 1880. Although nothing remains of Stevenson?s cabin, the site is identified on the trail to the summit.
The area features rough terrain, with evergreen forests in the canyons on north-facing slopes and chaparral on the south-facing slopes.
There is a five-mile hike to the top of Mt. St. Helena from which one can see much of the Bay Area. On good days the top of Mt. Shasta can be seen, 192 miles in the distance.
To protect the park's wildlife and other natural resources, dogs are not permitted in this park.
The best seasons are spring and fall. The winter provides the best vistas, but also the greatest chance of snow and chilling wind.
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5.5 miles from park*
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9 miles from park*
to this park:
Stevenson Memorial Trail
To Stevenson Memorial is 2 miles round trip; to summit of Mt. Saint Helenais 10 miles round trip with 1,300-foot elevation gainYou can see the imposing mountain towering above the wineries. Mt. Saint Helena is a landmark, a wild backdrop behind the neat cultivated vineyards of Napa Valley.
The best view of the wine country is from the top of 4,343-foot Mt. Saint Helena, reached by a five mile trail that winds through stands of knobcone pine to deliver summit panoramas of not only Napa Valley but the High Sierra and San Francisco Bay as well.
While winter is not the most popular of seasons for touring the wine country, it is the best time for looking down at it from the top of Mt. Saint Helena. Crisp, clear winter days mean breathtaking views from the summit. Local Sierra Club members schedule an annual New Year?s Day hike up the mountain?surely an invigorating way to celebrate the year past and welcome the year ahead.Most of the summit and broad shoulders of Mt. Saint Helena are protected by Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Stevenson, best remembered for his imaginative novels, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Treasure Island, honeymooned in a cabin tucked in one of Mt. Saint Helena?s ravines in the summer of 1880.
Quite the world traveler, Stevenson, constantly seeking relief from chronic tuberculosis, globe-trotted from Switzerland to the south of France to Samoa. The native Scot followed his heart to California to marry an American woman, Fanny Osbourne.
Short of money, the newlyweds honeymooned in the abandoned mining camp of Silverado, moving into an old cabin and using hay for a bed. While so encamped, Stevenson filled a diary with local color and later penned an account of his experience, The Silverado Squatters, which introduced him to American readers.
Stevenson flled his notebooks with descriptions of the many colorful Napa Valley denizens?from stage drivers to winemakers?he met. Perhaps the biggest infuence upon Stevenson during his stay on Mt. Saint Helena was the mountain itself; it became the model for Spyglass Hill in his novel Treasure Island.
Today you can take a short (one mile) hike into California literary history by joining the trail leading to the secluded site of the Stevensons? honeymoon. Wrote Stevenson: ?At sunrise, and again later at night, the scent of sweet bays filled the canyon.? A memorial in the form of an open book commemorates the author?s stay on the mountain and marks the site of his cabin.
Travelers interested in learning more about Robert Louis Stevenson and his work should head for the Silverado Museum in St. Helena, located seven miles south of Calistoga. The museum features books, letters, and other memorabilia of Stevenson?s life.
Stevenson Memorial Trail is particularly enjoyable for the first interesting mile as it winds through the forest to the memorial. The next four miles of trail?a well-graded fire road leading to the summit?are frankly a bit monotonous; however, the grand vistas, becoming better and better as you climb, more than compensate.
The park is seven miles north of Calistoga on Highway 29.