I’ve wanted to run Lake Hennessy Shoreline Trail in St. Helena for a while now. The timing never works out, and it was closed for a little while due to fires. I was excited when I was finally able to!
About Lake Hennessy:
If you are curious to learn more about Lake Hennessy, you can do so here. There are plenty of activities to enjoy here, including boating and fishing and hiking, and running the Lake Hennessy Shoreline Trail. It does cost money to fish or boat, but the trail is free. Since Lake Hennessy serves as a municipal water supply, there are many rules and regulations of what can be done in the water.
I found the information about Lake Hennessy itself fascinating. It has an approximate storage capacity of 31,000 acre-feet (1 acre-foot = 325,851 gallons), and its tributary watershed area is about 35,000 acres. You can find more information about that here.
About Lake Hennessy Shoreline Trail:
The Lake Hennessy Shoreline Trail is located in St. Helena and near Moore Creek Park. You’re able to run at both if you want some hills as well as flats. It’s also home to Lake Hennessy, a key source of drinking water for the Napa (so no swimming). You can find a trail map here.
The Lake Hennessey Shoreline Trail (also known as the Alta Hennessey Loop) is 5.5 miles long. The entire loop climbs about 700 feet (which was surprising). I always assume perimeter loops and trails are flat, but this is one of the most “hilly ones.”
Lake Hennessey is also known for bird watching, and during my run, I saw several different types of birds, and the Lake Hennessy Shoreline Trail even has markers about the different bird species.
History of Moore Creek Park and Lake Hennessy:
The City of Napa Developed the Conn Dam and Lake Hennessy way back in the 1940s. The lake is named after Edwin R. Hennessey, a Napa banker. Hennessy secured local development of the reservoir when an earlier Federal flood control project stalled.
Unlike many Napa Valley parks, dogs are allowed on the Lake Hennessy trail system but must be leashed at all times. Dogs are not allowed in Lake Hennessy, and it’s well enforced.
My experience at the Lake Hennessy Shoreline Trail:
I’ve been to the Lake Hennessy Shoreline Trail a few times now, and it’s a great perimeter loop. I might run around twice for a longer run shortly. It’s a combination of gravel and dirt. It’s easy to continue forward. If you’re hiking with a dog or family, it’s easy for the entire family. If you are running, you can get about the same pace you would go on roads.
I like the Lake Hennessy Shoreline Trail, and it’s one of my favorite trails in Napa Valley. Together with Moore Creek Park, it’s a fun place to run. Whether you are looking for an easy trail, fun activity with family, or you just want to get out, you won’t be disappointed.
You can see more hikes and trail runs here.
Questions for you:
Have you ever been to Lake Hennessy Shoreline Trail?
What is your favorite spot to run or hike?