Recreation Information

Howard Lake located on the Covelo Ranger District

Howard Lake is located on the Covelo Ranger District.

Want to kick back and relax under shady pines by a sparkling lake? Looking for a "base camp" for a day of hiking, boating, fishing, or swimming? Want to just get out of the house for the day for a nice picnic in the great outdoors? If so, the Mendocino National Forest can offer you that and more!

Offering nearly one million acres for your enjoyment, relaxation, and exploration, you can experience the solitude of the wilderness or enjoy camping near others in developed campgrounds. Camp in densely forested woodlands or open meadows, discover secluded flats along river banks and enjoy panoramic views of majestic mountains.

A continuing goal of the Mendocino National Forest is to ensure accessible recreational opportunities are available to everyone.

Policy on Pet Dogs

Pets in Developed Recreation Sites: Under 36 CFR 261.16(j) Animals, other than a seeing eye dog, must be crated, caged, or upon a leash not longer than six feet, or otherwise under physical restrictive control.

Find Popular Campgrounds

To use our web site to help you plan your visit to the Forest, navigate by choosing your planned recreational activity in the left menu. If you have a favorite area in mind, it may be faster to use the map below or the "Find An Area" link in the right-hand column. The current status of the more popular campgrounds and trailheads, is listed in the table below the map with a link to more information.

Alerts & Notices

Also be sure to look at the Alerts & Notices page to view any emergency closures or other information that might affect your visit.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report


Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness

[Photograph]: Mount Linn in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness.

In the Wintun Indian language, "Yo-la" means "snow covered", and "Bo-li" means "high peak." The second part of this Wilderness' name refers to the headwaters of the Middle Fork Eel River, which originates in this remote and rugged land. This area was first protected in 1931 when it was classified as a primitive area. Further protection was given when this area became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, created by the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act of 1984 added another 2,000 acres to the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, for a total of about 151,626 acres.

The Wilderness is roughly oval in shape, being about 19 miles long in the north-south direction and 24 miles wide in the east-west direction. The majority of the Wilderness lies in two districts of the Mendocino National Forest (Covelo and Grindstone Ranger Districts). The far northern portion of the Wilderness is in the Yolla Bolly Ranger District of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. To the far west, a part of the Wilderness is in the Mad River Ranger District of the Six Rivers National Forest, and the Bureau of Land Management has a small portion of the Wilderness (also on the western edge).

The lowest point of the Wilderness is along Cottonwood Creek (2,600' elevation). This is just four and a half miles from the highest point, Mount Linn, at an elevation of 8,092 feet. Several other peaks push their way above 7,000 feet and provide fine views (weather and smoke permitting) of Mount Lassen, Mount Shasta, the Trinity Alps, the Kings Range and sometimes the Pacific Ocean.

Sanhedrin Wilderness

[Photograph]: Elderberry trees in the Sanhedrin Wilderness Area.

The 10, 571 acre Sanhedrin Wilderness was established in 2006 by Public Law 109-362, the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act. The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme council of the ancient Hebrews and the imposing ridge that crowns this Wilderness was named after that high council. The terrain in this area is moderately steep and rugged. The Wilderness is managed by the Forest Service, but includes areas of private land.

Elevations in the Wilderness vary from 6,175 feet at Big Signal peak to 1,600 along Thomas Creek. The major creeks in the area drain westward to the Eel River. Soils are moderately to highly erodible, and an unstable fault zone transects the Rocky Point-Ascherman Ranch area.

Trails in the Sanhedrin
Developed trails do not exist within the Sanhedrin at this time, providing a truly untrammeled Wilderness experience. The only public access point for this area is by the lookout on Big Signal Peak at the end of Forest Road 20N04. From this location, visitors can enjoy off trail hunting, hiking, and camping activities.

Although you may come across an old road or cattle trail while visiting the Sanhedrin, no managed trails existed upon designation of the Wilderness. Employees and wilderness stewardship volunteers have begun to identify potential opportunities to designate and maintain foot and horse trails in the Sanhedrin for future use and enjoyment.

We recommend that when visiting the area you bring the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5-minute topographic maps that cover the region:  USGS maps for the Sanhedrin Wilderness include Sanhedrin Mountain, Brushy Mountain, Foster Mountain, and Van Arsdale Reservoir. PDF MAP »

Related Information

Areas & Activities


[Graphic]: Map displaying the Mendocino National Forest and surrounding area.

Mendocino National Forest Location Map ยป