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the waterwheel at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park lies nestled within the majestic woodlands of Napa County. This serene California state park, located just 22 miles east of Santa Rosa, contains an historic grist mill, one of only two water-powered mills still standing west of the Mississippi River.

Today visitors can tour this restored historic landmark, relax in one of the scenic picnic areas, and walk the nature trail that leads through the redwoods and into nearby Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.

Activities

Spend a couple of days in the heart of Napa Valley with a visit to both Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Explore the historic mill and learn more about the early settlers and life here during the 19th century.

Take a walk through the woodlands on the scenic nature trail that leads into nearby Bothe Napa Valley State Park. On your way there you’ll pass the Pioneer Cemetery and an early church that was founded by these early settlers. Once you arrive inside Bothe-Napa Valley State Park check out their Visitor Center and Native American Garden. A guide for this beautiful garden is available inside the Visitor Center.

picnic tables at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Interested in also spending a few nights inside this peaceful area? Bothe-Napa Valley State Park’s campground features campsites, yurts, and cabins. The campground also has a swimming pool!

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park:

Tour the Historic Mill at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

The historic mill inside Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park was originally built in 1846. At that time Dr. Edward Turner Bale owned the mill, having received a land grant from the Mexican government. The mill remained an important part of the Napa Valley settlement area from about 1850 until the early 1900s during which time locals would bring their wheat, corn, oats, and barley to be ground here.

Today this fully restored water powered grist mill is operated by the Napa Open Space District. Exhibits of late 1800 tools and millstones are on display inside the mill. Milling demonstrations and guided tours are available only on the weekends; community events are held onsite throughout the year.

Hiking at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

The 1.1 mile History Trail leads visitors on a journey from the Bale Mill inside Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park to picnic areas inside nearby Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. The trail passes Pioneer Cemetery, the final resting place of several early Napa Valley pioneers, and the historic White Church.

an old-fashioned kitchen at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

This scenic nature trail also winds through the woodlands, past shrubs, and along Mill Creek.

Birding at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Bring your binoculars! On your walk between Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park and Bothe Napa Valley State Park you’ll have the opportunity to observe many species of birds. Here are a few to look out for: Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Pileated Woodpeckers, California Scrub-Jays, Cackling Geese, Cinnamon Teals, and Northern Shovelers.

Nature and Wildlife at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Majestic redwoods, oaks, and pines offer some protection from the elements as well as providing habitat for a variety of wildlife. During your visit to this peaceful area you may see deer, foxes, snakes, lizards, banana slugs, raccoons, mountain lions, coyotes, and bobcats.

Pets

Pets are only allowed within designated areas at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park. Dogs are not permitted inside park buildings, on nature trails, backcountry areas, or in the historic gardens.

the water mill at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Camping

Since Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park features day use areas only visitors interested in taking a look at Bothe Napa Valley State Park’s overnight accommodations. This nearby state park, located at 3801 St. Helena Highway in Calistoga, features campsites, yurts, and cabins, all nestled within the shaded redwoods. The park also has a seasonal swimming pool and 10 miles of nature trails.

The campground at Bothe Napa Valley State Park includes 45 spacious campsites for tents or RVs (no hookups), one group camping area, 9 primitive hike-in campsites, 10 furnished yurts available in 2 different sizes, and private cabins with bathrooms and full sized kitchens.

Park Location

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
3369 St Helena Hwy
St Helena, CA 94574
Phone: 707.963.2236

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park: