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Organization Title

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Contact Information

(707) 963-2236

Park Hours

Open weekends from 10am - 5pm
(We are open Monday Holidays)

School Tours:
Wednesday & Thursday

Driving Directions to Bale Grist Mill SHP

The historic park is three miles north of St. Helena (3369 N St.) on Highway 29.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

October 30, 2017
Several North Bay California State Parks continue to be closed due to impacts associated with the LNU Fire Complex. The parks are Trione-Annadel, Sugarloaf Ridge, Robert Louis Stevenson State Parks and the Bale Grist Mill, Sonoma, Jack London and Petaluma Adobe State Historic Parks. It is imperative that the public stay out of closed areas as safety hazards exist such as burned trees and damaged facilities. Park staff are actively assessing field conditions, and park rangers are patrolling closed parks. The park will open as soon as it is safe and normal park operations are in place. Unauthorized access is strictly prohibited in closed areas, it is unlawful to enter areas that have a District Superintendent's closure order (see below).

October 12, 2017
Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park is currently closed due to fire conditions. For your safety, please avoid this and any other areas that are closed during this time. We will update you when additional details are available. Thank you for your cooperation and please be safe.

Superintendents Closure Order 17-664-051

Bail Grist Mill imagePark Operated by Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District, No STATE Services or Staff Available.

Learn more about how you can enjoy this park at:

The park is the site of a water-powered grist mill that was built in 1846. It was once the center of social activity as Napa Valley settlers gathered to have their corn and wheat ground into meal or flour. The owner of the mill was Dr. Edward Turner Bale. He received the property in a land grant from the Mexican government and lived near the site until his death in 1849. The mill remained in use until the early 1900s.

The mill and its 36-foot water wheel are protected as a state historic landmark and have been partially restored. A trail connects the historic park to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Additionally, the park includes the site of the first church in the Napa Valley as well as the Pioneer Cemetery.

Location - Directions

The historic park is three miles north of St. Helena (3369 N St.) on Highway 29.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended Clothing

The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended.

Facilities and Activities

Visitors can hike from the mill on the historic trail to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, which features extensive picnic facilities and a number of trails. The round trip hike from Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is approximately two miles.

Milling demonstrations and historic tours are offered on weekends.

School tours are available by reservations on Wednesdays and Thursdays only at a cost of $100.00 per class. Reservations are made via

The park is open on the Monday holidays of July 4 and Memorial Day. The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Please call the park prior to visiting.

More about the Park

The gristmill and granary were built with local materials, Douglas firs and coast redwoods. Some timbers were cut to length with the bark left on, while others were roughed out with hand tools. The timbers were notched and held in place with wooden pegs as well as nails and screws.

The foundation of the structure is native stone. The mill was powered by a waterwheel, with water diverted from Mill Creek nearby. A ditch carried the water from a millpond to a wooden flume, which brought the water to the top of the waterwheel.

The first wheel did not provide enough power during dry summers and was replaced by a larger one, similar to the one at the mill today.

Farmers brought grain to the mill where it was placed into the boot of an elevator to be mechanically transported upstairs where it was cleaned by various types of equipment. The slow turning of the old grind stones and the dampness of the mill's site gave the meal a special quality for making cornbread, yellowbread, shortening bread and spoon bread.

As old timers put it, "When meal comes to you that way, like the heated underside of a settin' hen, it bakes bread that makes city bread taste like cardboard."

Social Content

Available Activities and Facilities at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Hiking Trails
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Family Programs
Drinking Water Available