What is a self-guided trek?
A self-guided trek is a vacation holiday where you travel with your own family or friends, not a tour with strangers. We provide you with a complete itinerary, including detailed custom maps designed by Wine Country Trekking and specific trail notes covering all aspects of your hikes. We arrange all lodging for you and give you restaurant reviews and recommendations near your lodging. You have the confidence of knowing that everything is taken care of and the freedom to manage your own time. We also handle the logistics of transporting your luggage between inns. There are no guides directing your trip. Prior to your trek we send you two Guides, a Planning Guide and a Trail Guide, that cover every detail of your trek. For more information, see The Experience.
What is included in the treks?
Lodging, breakfasts, luggage transfers, custom maps and trail notes, local area information package, Planning Guide, taxes, tips, park entry fees, and any necessary transfers during the trek are all included. In addition, most treks include wine tastings.
What is not included in the treks?
Lunches and dinners are not included in our treks. We have found that our trekkers are passionate about food, and want the ability to select their own menu items and restaurants where dining options are available. We provide descriptions and reviews of local restaurants near your lodging and let you know where you can pick up a picnic lunch for your hikes. Pre and post trek airport transfer are also not included.
What if I want a guide?
A guide is not necessary, as the treks are designed to be self-guided, with excellent custom maps and trail notes and all logistics handled for you. Be assured that we have personally hiked all of the trails and documented the trail notes ourselves. However, if you would like to have a guide join you for part or all of the trek, we can arrange that for you. Please contact us .
How can I compare different treks?
Details on each trek can be found at Compare Treks and Compare Trek Destinations.
How do I book a trek?
You can purchase your trek online, or call us at (707) 935-4497.
How early do I need to book?
Although you can book your trek anytime, it is best to book 4 to 6 months in advance as the premier hotels and restaurants we use are very popular and may not be available with short notice.
How can I bring wine home?
There are three options to get wine home:
- All wineries will arrange to ship wine for you. However, depending on the state you live in, this may be prohibited. It can also be very expensive.
- If you only buy a few bottles, you can wrap them in clothing in your luggage and safely check them. You cannot take wine on airplanes in your carry-on bags.
- You can purchase a Wine Check from Wine Country Trekking which will safely hold a case (12 bottles) of wine. This is a piece of luggage with wheels that is designed to check wine on an airplane and can be reused. The cost is $85 plus tax, which includes the insert and delivery to your lodging. If you let us know in advance, a Wine Check can be waiting for you at your first Wine Country lodging. If you aren’t sure in advance, you can contact us during your trek and we will have one delivered to you.
How do I know if the start date I want is available?
When you book you will be asked to select a start date and provide a deposit. We will then immediately check availability and get back to you within 48 hours to either confirm your start date or contact you to discuss alternatives. If your preferred date is not available and there are no alternatives that are satisfactory to you, we will refund your deposit. You can also contact us and ask us to check availability for your start date before booking.
What if something happens and I can't go on my trek?
If you need to cancel your trek, please contact us. Our cancellation policy may provide some refund or credit toward a future trip, depending on the date you cancel. We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance , which may cover you in the event of cancellation.
Can I bring children?
These treks are designed for adults, and may include activities, such as wine tasting, in which children cannot participate. If you do decide to bring children, please note that they will pay the adult rate.
Can I bring my dog?
Sorry, no. Most of the parks that you will be hiking in do not allow dogs, even on leash.
What is the difference between your runner's treks and your other treks?
The runner's treks go on the same beautiful mountain trails as some of our other treks, but we design the logistics to meet the needs of runners. For example, any wine tasting would take place after your run and lunch, not during your run.
Who is Wine Country Trekking?
Wine Country Trekking was started in 2006 by three natives of the San Francisco Bay Area who share a passion for hiking vacations and great food and wine. Find out more in About Us.
On the Trail
How difficult are the treks?
The daily hikes vary between 5 to 12 miles with up to 2300 feet of elevation gain and loss. The terrain is generally stable, on well maintained dirt trails or gravel fire roads. Some parts of the hikes are on pavement in towns. The difficulty of the treks varies, depending on the trek. In general, the wine tasting treks are less difficult than the treks that include mountain hikes. Each trek is described with the daily hikes in detail, so that you can plan your trek according to your ability. We have also identified which treks are most suitable for walkers, hikers, and runners to help you decide which is best for you!
Can a weekend hiker do a Wine Country Trek?
Our treks are designed to accommodate all levels of hikers. The weekend hiker may complete the daily treks in 5 to 7 hours, while the more active hiker will likely finish much faster.
What does elevation gain and loss mean?
Elevation gain is the total amount you will climb in a day, and elevation loss is the total amount you will descend in a day. For example, if you climb 1000 feet, descend 500 feet, and then climb an additional 300 feet, the elevation gain would be 1300 feet and the elevation loss would be 500 feet. Most of your hikes will begin at or near sea level.
What should I bring on the trek?
Generally, you should plan on traveling light. Bring things you like to have on a day hike, such as binoculars, sunscreen, camera, hiking poles, and water bottle. You will also want to bring drip dry multiple clothing layers, as the San Francisco Bay Area coastal weather is very changeable. You will receive a Planning Guide online when you purchase a trek. This guide will have a detailed packing list in addition to other helpful area and trek information.
What is the weather like?
The San Francisco Bay Area coastal weather is generally pleasant and temperate year round. Winters are often rainy, and summers can be very changeable, with fog in the morning and sun in the afternoon. Your summer day could begin in fog at 50°F (10°C), and the afternoon could change to bright sunshine and 90°F (32°C)! See seasonal average temperatures and rainfall , but be aware that these are just averages, and your experience could be very different!
What if there is an emergency on the trail?
You will be hiking in National, State and Regional parks which generally have local resources, such as park rangers, available. Your Trail Guide will identify nearby ranger stations, as well as providing an emergency phone number. Cell phones will work in some areas of the parks, but not others, so it may be necessary for one of your party to walk for assistance if there is an emergency.
How do I get to and from the airport?
Airport shuttles are available for most of our treks. The Planning Guide you will receive online when you book your trek will have more information on airport transfer options, which are not included in the trek price.
What if I am driving?
We will be happy to help arrange to get your vehicle to the end of your trek and storage while you are on your trek. This may have an additional cost which is not included in the trek price.
How can people contact me when I am on my trek?
If you bring a cell phone with international coverage, it will work on much of your trek. Lodging information, including phone numbers, will also be sent to you prior to your departure. In addition, wireless internet is available at all of the lodging.
Why can't I start my trek any day of the week?
The restaurants, wineries, and lodging that are such an important part of the overall trek experience have different days they are closed or have other conflicts. The start days listed allow you to enjoy all of the planned experiences. If you wish to start your trek on a different day, please contact us, and we will work with you to accommodate your needs, although it may require some itinerary changes or additional charges.
How much luggage can I bring?
You can bring two pieces of luggage per person, one standard size and one small size. Laundry facilities are not available in most of the small towns you will be visiting, so it is best to pack lightweight drip dry clothing that you can rinse and dry in the evening.
What if I don't want to hike one day?
The treks are designed for people who enjoy hiking. In the event that one of your party cannot or does not wish to hike one day, please contact us and we will help arrange transportation to your next destination. Depending on what transportation we can arrange, there may be an additional fee.
What airport should I fly into?
San Francisco is the gateway city for the Northern California Wine Country. Most guests will find the San Francisco Airport (SFO) to be the most convenient. Oakland (OAK) is also a good option. If you are going on a trek exclusively in Sonoma County, the Santa Rosa Airport (STS) is an excellent option.
Food and Lodging
What if I have special dietary needs?
You will be selecting your own food on your trek, so you will be able to manage any special dietary needs. The area generally has multiple food options available, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free.
How do I get dinner restaurant reservations?
You will receive an online Planning Guide when you book your trek. This will include local restaurant descriptions and reviews and links to their websites. Simply contact the restaurant directly for reservations (most take them online). Please note that some of the restaurants require reservations as much as two months in advance!
Why aren't lunches and dinners included?
We know that our trekkers are passionate about food, and want the ability to select their own menu items and restaurants where dining options are available. We provide descriptions and reviews of local restaurants near your lodging and let you know where to pick up a picnic lunch for your hike.
What are the hotels and inns like?
In the cities, you will stay in luxury boutique hotels. When your trek takes you to the country, you will be in charming country inns with all the amenities one would expect of premier lodging. The United States does not have a consistent rating system for lodging, so it is difficult to compare directly to other countries. We have chosen lodging that is the best an area has to offer, is always highly rated, and fitting for our first class trek experience! The rooms chosen are our favorites, often suites with outdoor patios or decks. If you are interested in a lower cost option for a standard room, which may be available in some locations, please contact us.
Can I get rooms with two beds?
If you would like two beds, please let us know, and we will accommodate you wherever possible. However, many of the hotels and inns we use do not have that option. Almost all have king beds; a few offer only queen beds. In some cases, if they do not have rooms with two beds, they can bring in a roll-away bed or a futon for the second person. If you wish to have three people in a room, please contact us and we will try and accomodate you. There will be an additional charge for the third person.