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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
Elevation 4,342 ft (1,323 m) NAVD 88
Prominence 1,823 ft (556 m)
Listing California county high points 44th
Geography
Parent range Mayacamas Mountains
Topo map USGS Mount Saint Helena

Mount Saint Helena (Wappo: Kanamota, "Human Mountain") 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. The headwaters of the Napa River are on the southeast slope of Mount Saint Helena.

History

St Helena plate
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.

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. 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. The trails are approximately 6 miles long.

Views from the summit

Panorama from top of Mount Saint Helena.
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