About Napa River View Walk-in
Fall has arrived in the Preserve, with warm days, brisk breezy off the bay evenings and cooler nights. Makes that campfire at the visitor center feel sooo great. Every weekend in October and Halloween night is NightMARE Island, our Halloween Haunt. Plan to join us for much more than a traditional haunt. Mosquitoes are hanging around, but nothing like Spring. Bring spray, plan to hang out with us at our campfire area after dark and bring clothes to cover you just after dawn and just before sunset. Join us for a natural season of wildness and gathering at one of our campsites. Tent camp spots on the Navy’s oldest ammunition depot in the Pacific, are guaranteed to be eclectic and unique! These 2 sites are a pretty steep but short 1/3 mile hike up the hill from parking. If you want to drive, register for our Bunker Bay View campsites 1 & 2. At Walk in Campsite 3 pitch your tent on the loading dock of one of our 1930’s bunkers with stupendous views of the Napa Valley, Mare Island Strait and Napa River clear to its headwaters at Mt St Helena. Walk in Campsite 4 is reached by the same steep hike but it's nestled under the Island's Mother Oak. BE PREPARED: this time of year the temps could dip to around 50 degrees at night. And, the Porta potty is the hike back down the hill near your car. Good news is that we don’t really have any people neighbors, so making music or being a little noisy here is cool. While you will still know urban life is nearby, you will experience the magic of the peaceful setting. Osprey, great-blue herons, great egrets, red-tailed hawks and white-tailed kites nest nearby in spring and summer. Red-shouldered hawks scream by in the neighborhood. Owls are night visitors. We usually recommend using our cooking facility at the visitor center for all 4 tent campsites. Our portable restrooms are always refreshingly clean. A campfire is allowed only at our visitor center, an easy quarter-mile 5 min walk from parking for campsites 3 & 4. The Mare Island Preserve is 1.5 miles from the new Mare Island ferry terminal with daily service from San Francisco. Direct bus service from the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station to the Vallejo Transit Center lands you a little over 4 miles away from the Preserve. Catch your favorite taxi service or call/text us to pre-arrange a pickup. Bikes are allowed on both the ferry and shuttle buses from BART. Once you’ve settled in, hop on one of our bikes for a jaunt around the strangely quirky and kinda abandoned, sort of not, former Naval shipyard, the Navy’s oldest installation in the Pacific, founded in 1854. You will stop often to photograph both the beauty and the decay of a 150 years of maritime and marine industrial history. Hike and jog our 4-mile roundtrip San Pablo Bay Trail and even golf or visit Vino Godfather tasting room, a WWII landing craft support gunboat, St. Peter’s Chapel (by appt) or a museum of Navy history.
Our 16 foot Old Tennis Court yurt camp is situated on the old tennis court near where you park. It can be reserved along with our 12 foot Garden History yurt a 1/4 mile up the trail through our separate listings. Our policy for our Preserve is to “do no harm before you do good”, making a valiant effort to leave the precious place as we found it; we’ve pruned the native oaks and cultural landscape trees a bit and cleared the weeds, but we think we’ve left plenty of wildness to reconnect you with nature and nurture your soul and there’s ample history to spark your imagination. Your enthusiastic stays in our yurts and tent camp spots, help us protect and share our park with you. /p>
- Listing type: Private
- No. of sites: 2
- Accessible by: Walk
- Accommodation: Tent Only
- Check in after: 2PM
- Check out before: 12PM
- Cancellation policy: Flexible
- On arrival: Meet and greet
- Minimum nights: None
- Accepts bookings: 12 months out
The vibe at Napa River View Walk-in
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
This is definitely the most private site on Mare Island because it can't be accessed by car and it's on the opposite end of the other sites. Blackberries and fennel were in full bloom while we were camping here, so it also smelled incredible.
From the Old Tennis Court Yurt, where we parked, this site is a steep, 5-minute hike-in. You'll get to a fork about 3 minutes in--turn right to access the bunker. Pitch a blanket on the outer part, set up some chairs, and enjoy the view of twinkling Vallejo lights. (Don't forget your instruments--the acoustics inside these things is crazy.)
For a more nature-y view, walk 2 minutes to the west and watch the sun dip down behind Mt. Tam. Ahh.
Hidden gem and unique camping experience. Felt like staying at a hostel in the middle of a scenic ghost town. The hostel piece: the visitor center does a nightly fire and we enjoyed hanging out with the 2 yurts and other campers after dark. Clean facilities include a shared kitchen and several maintained portables. If you want to feel worlds away, try it out. Great views. And, proceeds go to helping the preserve sustain. We'll be back.
We arrived after dark, and Myrna was super helpful and responsive in helping us get settled.
We had mixed feelings about our stay here. First, the positives. Myrna and the rest of the folks who run the preserve are incredibly nice. Our first night, we arrived after dark and Myrna let us stay near one of the unoccupied yurts since our campsite would be hard to get to in the dark. The second night, we stayed at site 1, which was incredibly private. It's a unique site, and would be a great place to stay with a group of friends. We did have issues finding the site because there is no signage for any of the campsites. This not only confused us, but also a group who couldn't find campsite 2. The steep trail up to the site is also not the most well maintained. We got a few scrapes from a particularly aggressive, spiked bush that jutted out onto the trail. It's not the quietest either since you hear city noises all night, and I would recommend not going during October if you want any peace. With NightMARE island going on, we heard screams all night and it was very busy near the visitors center. That being said, if you are into creepy places, Mare Island in general has a very creepy vibe with so many abandoned buildings. Overall, not the most peaceful but I would recommend it to anyone wanting a unique, possibly creepy, camping experience.
Had a lovely stay at the Preserve on (Night)Mare Island! This was a super unique and beautiful spot, and Myrna and Eric were great hosts. My boyfriend and I had a quick stay here on a week night. We left SF at 3pm, took the ferry over (went to Vallejo Ferry Terminal), then took a 10 minute Uber ride over to the Preserve. We ended up camping down by the visitor center since it was getting dark when we arrived, but Myrna was able to give us a ride up to the Napa River View Walk-in where my boyfriend and I hung out at night for a few hours cooking dinner, checking out the bunker, and taking in the gorgeous views of the city and stars. We hiked back down to the visitor center (1.5 miles), hung out by the fire Myrna and Eric had set up for us, and drifted off to sleep shortly after. Definitely recommend this spot and hope to be back with more time next time! Both sunset and sunrises here are not to be missed. :)