Situated in northern California just one hour from the bigger cities of San Francisco to the north and Sacramento to the south, Napa Valley is well known for being home to a number of world-class wineries that offer tours, tastings, and beautiful views all around.
The Valley also boasts a number of well known restaurants and resorts to visitors who want to retreat for a quiet get away from the hustle and bustle of busier California destinations. There are a number of well known tours that are hosted year round to their most well known facilities, but for visitors who want to see a different side of Napa Valley, there are local secrets that are sure to please.
From secret menu items to lesser traveled roads, the list below contains little unknown secrets of Napa Valley in California for travelers who want to see a different side of a well known vacation destination.
For those looking to escape the well frequented swanky restaurants and wineries that Napa Valley is so well known for, Linda Falls offers a return back to nature that is not as well known as other popular hiking trails nearby. Situated near the community of Angwin near Howell Mountain, Linda Falls is the only local waterfall around which makes it a unique fixture among the other natural attractions in the beautiful Valley.
The out of view waterfall cascades more than 30 feet over volcanic boulders and is surrounded by lush forests which do a good job of hiding it from view of unknowing tourists who mainly stick to the more popular hiking trails.
Since it is a short hike, Linda Falls is easily accessible to those who know to look for it, and since it belongs to a land trust who have pledged to protect it, visitors will be able to enjoy a different, more wilder side of the oftentimes polished Napa Valley that can be seen on so many travel brochures.
Mozzarella "al Minuto”
Hand pulled and made to order, the Mozzarella “al Minuto” is available only in two restaurants and only to visitors who are savvy enough to ask for it specifically. The tasty dish was a signature of the now closed Tra Vigne restaurant but still lives on at Pizzeria Tra Vigne and Brasswood Bar + Kitchen- albeit on a secret menu at the latter location.
Loved by the locals and little known to everyone else, the dish includes warm mozzarella served on a garlic crostini and drizzled with olive oil. Although seeing the sights of any vacation destination is usually a top item on any traveler’s list of things to do, eating good food is probably a close second (or even more important!).
Although Napa Valley is well known for its many world-class restaurants, there is something very gratifying about eating foods that have been verified and approved by the locals.
Turtle Rock Bar & Cafe
According to Napa locals, the world’s best egg rolls can be found in one place that is part bar, part general store on the side of a rural road: Turtle Rock Bar & Cafe. The little known destination is well loved by bikers and is recognizable because of the thousands of of dollar bills that hang from the ceiling which give this small spot a unique flair not found in other, fancier restaurants in the busier parts of Napa.
Well known in the area for their giant egg rolls, these menu items are so popular at the Cafe that they are known to sell over one thousand in just one weekend! The spot is on the way to the well known Lake Berryessa and is one of the only places to get food to eat on the way there. For tourists who want to truly eat like a local, the Turtle Rock Bar and Cafe is a good choice.
Although the Silverado Trail only runs for 35 miles, those miles are full of scenic views and some of the best wineries selling wine crafted in small batches that you won’t be able to find anywhere in stores. Napa Valley is known for their world class wineries but the quieter and much less traveled Silverado Trail is lined with several wineries that offer exclusive wines to tourists who want to go off the beaten path and choose their own road side stops.
The Silverado Trail is a two-lane country road runs parallel to the much busier Highway 29 and according to the state’s official tourism website was the first permanent road to link the 30 miles between Napa and Calistoga. Located on the valley’s eastern hills, visitors can opt for a car ride or rent a bike to take in and appreciate the beautiful scenery at a much slower pace. The road may only span 35 miles, but there are numerous restaurants, wineries, and resorts to visit along the way.