Rolling countryside, verdant farmland, and sweeping views: welcome to Northern California’s Capay Valley! Located in northwestern Yolo County, Capay Valley stretches from the town of Esparto west to Rumsey along historic Highway 16.
Like much of Yolo County, Capay Valley is known for its agricultural heritage. The valley is home to acres upon acres of organic farms and orchards, many of which host tours and special events. The most notable event is the annual Capay Valley Almond Festival, which features music, entertainment, and of course, almond-centric food. This year, the festival will be held Feb. 26 at various locations.
The Capay Valley is worth a visit any time of year. Its small towns offer farm-to-table restaurants, world-class wineries and outdoor activities. Following are some of the small towns to explore in the scenic Capay Valley. Hit the open road and check out all they have to offer!
The largest town in the Capay Valley (clocking in a whopping 3,200 residents), Esparto is home base for the Almond Festival, with much of it taking place at Esparto Community Park. For a bite to eat, stop by Ravine on Sixteen, a casual spot for burgers, pizza and beer. Another good bet is Lucy’s Café and Farm Pantry, a friendly coffee shop that serves breakfasts and lunch. If you’d like to sample estate-grown wines, head to Grindstone Winery & Vineyards, offering tastings on its farmhouse porch. They also have live music and food trucks.
The valley’s namesake town has several farms that are open to the public. One is Good Humus, a CSA that hosts an open farm day and holiday events. Another spot to visit is Capay Valley Lavender Farm, which offers farm tours and workshops. They also have a little farm shop selling lavender-infused products such as candles, tea, and shortbread mixes.
Looking to get out for some fresh air? Head to Capay Open Space Park, 41 acres of public space with walking trails and direct access to lower Cache Creek. There are also picnic tables, benches and a covered shade structure.
Hoping to try some Yolo-made wines? Taber Ranch Vineyard offers estate-grown Sauvignon Blank, Petit Verdot and Chardonnay in their cozy tasting room, along with local beer and cider. Plus, their kitchen offers small bites and wood-fired pizza. Another good stop in Capay is Road Trip Bar & Grill. Here, you can fill up on hearty sandwiches and bar bites while enjoying live music.
Traveling west on Highway 16, the next town you’ll come across is Brooks. If you’re searching for locally produced gourmet food products, you’ll find it Seka Hills Olive Mill & Tasting Room. They’re known for their olive oil varietals, as well as wines such as rosé and Syrah, but they also sell local honey, nuts and vinegar. There’s even an onsite café, and tours of the olive mill can be arranged.
Another great spot to sip local wine is Capay Valley Vineyards. The family-run operation produces Tempranillo and Viognier, among other varietals.
If you’re a golfer, no visit to Capay Valley is complete without a visit to Yocha Dehe Golf Club, a championship course with practice facilities and an onsite restaurant with a dining patio overlooking the greens. The course is part of Cache Creek Casino Resort, which has a luxury spa, entertainment, and dining, including elegant C2 Steak and Seafood and Enso Sushi, among others.
Next up on the Capay Valley tour is Guinda. Guinda is perhaps best known for Full Belly Farms, a certified organic grower and CSA. They grow everything from artichokes to quince, and they also produce items such as fruit preserves, nut butter and pickles. They host numerous events throughout the year, including pizza nights, farm dinners and floral workshops.
Guinda is also home to Vernon Nichols County Park, a 22-acre expanse along Cache Creek that has a beach area and swimming spot. Within the park is the Will Baker Native Plant Garden, a demonstration garden focusing on native plants.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat in Guinda, stop by the Commons Rustic Bar-B-Q. The farmer-owned roadside stop features pit oak wood Santa Maria style BBQ such as tri-tip, ribs and brisket. They also have events such as live music, comedy and trivia, games and family friendly outdoor dining.
The last stop along Highway 16 in Capay Valley is Rumsey. Rumsey is home to Cache Creek Lavender Farm, which has acres and acres of purple blossoms and a farm store selling items such as essential oil, soap and sachets. They also host an annual Lavender Festival in June, where you can harvest your own blossoms, listen to live music, and sip local wines.
The Rumsey area is also known for its outdoor adventures. Valley Vista Regional Park offers hiking trails with views of the Capay Valley. Cache Creek Regional Park provides access to Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and is popular for hiking, fishing, kayaking and camping. Whitewater rafting is also popular, and Cache Canyon River Trips arranges single-day or two-day whitewater adventures.
If you’re searching for small-town charm, you’re sure to find it in Yolo County’s Capay Valley. The quaint towns and bucolic landscape make for a classic California road trip. Family-run farms, locally produced wine and outdoor adventures add to the appeal. Learn more about the Yolo Countryside and plan your trip today!
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