Special Places

[Photograph]: Summit Springs.The only one of California's 18 national Forests not crossed by a paved road or highway makes the Mendocino National Forest especially attractive to people seeking an outdoor experience of tranquility and solitude.

The Forest, however, is a working Forest as well as a recreation area, and resource activities such as logging and grazing do occur on both National Forest lands and private holdings within the Forest.

Elevations in the Forest range from 750 feet in the Grindstone Creek Canyon in the Sacramento Valley foothills on the Forest's eastern edge to the 8092 feet of South Yolla Bolly Mountain in the northern part of the Forest. The average elevation is about 4000 feet.

Highlighted Areas

Chico Seed Orchard

The Chico Seed Orchard is located on 209 acres, in Chico, CA. Development started in 1904 when the site was assigned to the Agricultural Research Service for the purpose of plant breeding research and plant introduction from all over the world.

The facility was originally named the Plant Introduction Station. Two of the station's early accomplishments included introducing the pistachio in 1917 and the kiwi in 1934. The "mother" and "father" kiwi are still at the Orchard and are the oldest producing kiwi in the country.

The Forest Service acquired the station in 1974. The Orchard's program gradually changed to developing and producing genetically improved plant material for the reforestation program of the Pacific Southwest Region.

In 1992, the Center's name changed to Genetic Resource and Conservation Center which reflects the broader scope and role of genetics in the management of forest ecosystems. The propagation function has evolved including over 130 species of trees, shrubs, grasses, and other native species which are of great importance for the productivity, health, diversity and sustainable use of our forest ecosystems.

Today, the Chico Seed Orchard produces plants for projects such as reforestation, wildfire recovery, watershed restoration, fisheries, riparian habitat for threatened and endangered species, Native American culture values, oak woodland restoration, mine reclamation, recreation areas, forest health including research and disease resistance, in addition to biological, chemical, and clinical research on anti-cancer drugs derived from plants.

Pine Mountain Lookout

This rustic lookout was constructed on the western shoulder of Pine Mountain overlooking the Van Arsdale area.

It is located on an outcrop at 4000 feet in elevation, within a mixed conifer forest consisting of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, black oak and madrone. Bucknell Creek and the Eel River are the major drainages in the area.

The historic town of Upper Lake is approximately 19 miles to the south and the Lake Pillsbury recreation area is seven miles to the northeast.

The Pine Mountain Lookout is currently accessible to modern day vehicles, but it is necessary to bring your own water and pack out your own garbage when renting the lookout.

Some other items you will need to bring with you are food, cooking utensils, bedrolls, pillows and warm evening clothes. The bunk bed has metal springs, there are no box springs or mattresses.

Please remember this site is rustic. The rental fees will help complete the restoration, and maintain the lookout.

The Lookout is available during the summer months and reservations can be made at Recreation.gov

Red Bluff Recreation Area

The sparkling Sacramento River bisects 488 acres of riparian forest, flowering grasslands, wetlands, and oak woodlands providing very diverse Naturewatch experiences. Birds literally flock to this variety of habitats over the course of the year, with over 125 species observed to date.

Fishing opportunities attract otter, herons, egrets, ospreys and bald eagles.

Other visitor facilities include day use areas, one campground, four miles of trails, one boat ramps, and the Sacramento River Discovery Center. The trails provide great views of Mount Shasta, Mount Lassen, and the Yolla Bolly Mountains, which are especially scenic in the winter and spring when they are capped with snow.