Mount Saint Helena

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Mount Saint Helena
Mount Saint Helena, viewed from Napa Valley.JPG
Mount Saint Helena, viewed from Northern Napa Valley
Highest point
Elevation4,342 ft (1,323 m)  NAVD 88[1]
Prominence1,823 ft (556 m) [2]
ListingCalifornia county high points 44th
Coordinates38°40′10″N 122°38′01″W / 38.669340858°N 122.633487528°W / 38.669340858; -122.633487528Coordinates: 38°40′10″N 122°38′01″W / 38.669340858°N 122.633487528°W / 38.669340858; -122.633487528[1]
Mount Saint Helena is located in California
Mount Saint Helena
Mount Saint Helena
Parent rangeMayacamas Mountains
Topo mapUSGS Mount Saint Helena

Mount Saint Helena (Wappo: Kanamota, "Human Mountain")[3] is a peak in the Mayacamas Mountains with flanks in Napa, Sonoma, and Lake counties of California. Composed of uplifted 2.4-million-year-old volcanic rocks from the Clear Lake Volcanic Field, it is one of the few mountains in the San Francisco Bay Area to receive any snowfall during the winter.

The mountain has five peaks, arranged in a rough "M" shape. Its highest point, North Peak, is in Sonoma County. The second-tallest, immediately east of the main summit, is the highest point in Napa County.[4] The headwaters of the Napa River are on the southeast slope of Mount Saint Helena.[5][6]


Replicas of a plaque left by Russians on Mount Saint Helena

Mount Saint Helena has had an explosive history of pyroclastic flows that resulted in California's Petrified Forest.

Mount Saint Helena was originally named Mount Mayacamas, but the name was changed after a Russian survey party ascended the peak in 1841 and left a copper plate on the summit inscribed with the date of their visit. The plate also bore the name of Princess Helena de Gagarin, wife of Alexander G. Rotchev, the commanding officer of Fort Ross.[7][8]

Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne spent the summer of 1880 honeymooning in an abandoned mining camp on Mount Saint Helena. Stevenson's book The Silverado Squatters includes his experiences while living there.[9] The mount is also described by Ambrose Bierce in his ghost story The Death of Halpin Frayser. Ursula K. Le Guin's novel Always Coming Home is about a post-apocalyptic society that considers Mount Saint Helena sacred.

The peak is reachable by hiking trails leading from Robert Louis Stevenson State Park.[9] The trails are approximately 6 miles long.

Views from the summit[edit]

Panorama from top of Mount Saint Helena.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mount Helena". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  2. ^ "Mount Saint Helena, California". Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  3. ^ "Wappo Language". Wappo Indians of Napa County. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  4. ^ "Mount Saint Helena-East Peak, California". Retrieved 2009-12-24.
  5. ^ "Napa River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  6. ^ Kevin Courtney (March 28, 2010). "A search for Napa River's start runs through the heart of the valley". Napa Valley Register. Napa Valley Publishing.
  7. ^ "Humboldt County, CA History". California Genealogy and History Archives. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  8. ^ "Napa County History". California Genealogy and History Archives. Archived from the original on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  9. ^ a b "Mount St. Helena, Robert Louis Stevenson State Park". Greenbelt Alliance. Archived from the original on 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2009-08-14.

External links[edit]