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Napa Valley Vine Trail Case Study

By: Rails-to-Trails-Conservancy CASE STUDY
February 13, 2018

Mural by bumblebeelovesyou along Napa Valley Vine Trail | Photo by Maureen Gaffney

Napa Valley Vine Rail Case Study by RTCDownload

Project Details

Lead Authority: Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition
Total Project Cost: $55 million
Funding Pledged to Date: $41.7 million

Federal/State: $16.7 million
$11.5 million
$13.5 million

Shovel-Ready: Within 2 years or less
Type: Rural, urban

Transformative Impact

Job Creation: An estimated 935 jobs directly1

Transportation: Trail could provide a safe off-road transportation alternative for18,000 students attending school within a half-mile of the trail; also reduces congestion along major roadways, keeping 477 cars off the road per day in 2017. Completion of trail between Yountville and Calistoga is projected to serve 850,000 trips per year.2

Economic Impact: Trail could contribute an estimated $165 million+ in revenue to the tourism industry each year.

Connectivity: The trail will span 47 miles across two counties, providing direct connections to parks, historical and cultural sites, green space and local destinations.

Project Description

The Napa Valley Vine Trail in Northern California takes trail users on a ramble through one of the most famous grape-growing regions in the world, increasing transportation opportunities and growing the tourism industry. Once completed, the trail will stretch 47 miles from Vallejo to Calistoga, connecting Napa and Solano counties, five cities and one town along the way.

Both major roadways in the region—the Silverado Trail and Highway 29—experience heavy traffic and serve as the only primary means of transportation for residents and tourists. The trail will revolutionize transportation, including for the 18,000 local students who attend school within a half-mile of the trail, as well as for other people heading to other destinations, including neighborhoods, shopping centers and places of employment. In 2017, the trail—which currently sees 70 percent of its use from local residents—resulted in 477 fewer cars on the road per day.3

At the heart of California’s wine country—the Vine Trail will help bolster an already thriving tourism industry by providing a safe, accessible way to explore the region’s wineries, restaurants and lush natural beauty. It’s estimated that the trail could contribute more than $165 million a year to the tourism industry in a region that saw 3.85 million visitors in 2018.4, 5 The trail also had approximately 350,000 individual uses that year.6

The Vine Trail will increase connectivity to cultural and ecological destinations—while offering valuable programming that will promote community engagement, including through offerings by the Rails Art District and the Vine Trail Outdoor Classroom—the latter of which provides trail curricula for Napa County students. The trail will also provide direct access to state parks, historical sites, green space and other multiuse trails in the area.


1 Estimated at 17 jobs per $1 million spent, according to a study commissioned by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) job creation; jobs in terms of full-time equivalents.
2 Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, Active Transportation Program grant application, 2015.
3 Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, “Our First 10 Years: Transforming the Idea Into a Reality,” 2018.
4 Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, “FAQs,” Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition,
5 “Research,” Visit Napa Valley,
6 Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, “Out First Ten Years.”

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