Napa River Ecological Reserve


The vegetation on the 73-acre Napa River Ecological Reserve has been classified as valley oak-bay riparian forest. The dominant trees are valley oak. The understory varies from brushy to grassy with dominance by common snowberry, Himalaya berry, and Santa Barbara sedge. The Napa River serves as an upstream migrant route for adult steelhead and downstream spring migration of the juvenile and adult steelhead. In addition to once historically numerous steelhead, there is a warmwater fishery as well that includes bluegill, green sunfish, western sucker, and other fish documented from the system. Many bird species occur in the reserve.

For more information, call the Bay Delta Region Fairfield office at (707) 428-2002.

Recreational Opportunities

Wildlife Viewing Fishing Hiking Trails Information Kiosk or Visitor Center Restrooms

Activities: wildlife viewing, fishing, and hiking

NOTE: Visitors are responsible for knowing and complying with all regulations pertaining to the use of Department lands.

Refer to the Public Uses on State and Federal Lands section of the Waterfowl, Upland Game, and Public Use Regulations (PDF) booklet for both statewide and property-specific regulations.

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You may not operate a drone on CDFW Lands without a Special Use Permit.

Area History

The property was designated as an ecological reserve by the Fish and Game Commission in 1976. Its purpose was to conserve one of the last sizable areas of riparian habitat in the Napa Valley and to provide recreational use for the public.

Prior land use is varied. Native American tribes, including the Wappo are known to have inhabited the Napa River Valley prior to European settlement. In 1836 the property became part of a Mexican Land grant. Under this ownership it was used for cattle grazing and social gatherings. Approximately from 1850 to 1880 the property was used annually by various religious organizations as a site for their statewide conventions, drawing up to 4000 people. In addition to these activities the property has also be used for fishing, hiking and swimming.

Related Documents

Outdoor California Article

Map of Napa River ER - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


Bay Delta Region (Region 3)

Napa County

Directions: Northeast of the town of Yountville on Yountville Crossroad. Exit Hwy 29 at Madison Street signal, going east through town. Take Yountville Crossroad and continue east. See reserve just before Napa River bridge.

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