Jonh F. Kennedy Memorial Park
- Particularly good for families
The River to Ridge Trail starts near the boat launch, passes the picnic grounds, and runs parallel to the park’s entrance road. It has some moderate slopes, and for wheelchair riders its only draw is the duck pond—after you pass that, the pavement ends (at Highway 221, where there are no curb cuts). Across the road, the trail resumes as a dirt path, continuing to Skyline County Park a mile away; I didn't explore this route on my visit.
Trails and Pathways
- Napa River Trail
- Time to Complete:
- 1 hour
- Trailhead Location:
- Boat launch
- Trail Length:
- 2-4 total miles
- Typical Width:
- 4 ft. & above
- Typical Grade:
- Typical Terrain:
This levee trail follows the Napa River, but you actually see more of the marsh terraces that were built to protect against floods than you do of the river itself. You will, however, see and hear a lot of birds: On my visit, I watched a northern harrier hawk hover low in the marsh in search of food and listened to the sweet song of red-winged blackbirds.
You can pick up the trail from several places in the park, but I started from the boat launch, close to where I parked. From here, the trail leads south in a 1.25-mile loop around a meadow with fennel, wild radish, and mustard, where I saw many butterflies; there's also an area designated for radio-controlled planes (their loud buzzing can be annoying) and two baseball fields. Most of this section is not particularly scenic. Benches along the river are good for bird-watching stops.
Heading north from the boat launch on this 1.3-mile stretch, you'll have better views of the hills and marshlands, although they're marred by some development. At the first junction, stay right to continue on the levee trail (if you turn left, the trail dead-ends in 50 feet). Vegetation here obscures views of the mudflats and marsh. After less than half a mile you leave the park boundary, passing Napa Valley College, and can see Imola Bridge looming large to the north. A good place to pause is the viewing area just before the bridge over Tulucay Creek; you may see western pond turtles, marsh wrens, black-necked stilts, great blue herons, and more. This spot is the northern tip of the South Napa wetlands, of which over 900 acres have been restored. From here you’ll pass under the Imola Bridge, and in less than half a mile, the trail ends. Plans call for extending the trail several miles toward downtown Napa.
- Accessible Parking:
- Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;
All of the park’s lots have several accessible spaces, except for the one at the duck pond and a gravel lot before the park’s main entrance.
- Accessible Restroom:
- Yes – Two are in the middle of the park; they have no sink, but faucets are outside. The doors at the ones near the playground were hard to open. An accessible porta-potty is by the baseball fields.
- Accessible Picnic Table:
- Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance