Recreation


A dirt bike rider on a high ridgeline on the Mendocino NF

Discover an Area by Activity

Select an activity to find an area to visit.

Recreation Information

Howard Lake located on the Covelo Ranger District

Howard Lake is located on the Covelo Ranger District.

Offering nearly one million acres for your enjoyment, relaxation, and exploration, you can experience the solitude of the wilderness or enjoy boating, fishing, or 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 the majestic North Coast mountains.

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

Policy on Pet Dogs

Pets are allowed in the Mendocino National Forest and wilderness areas. While using developed recreation sites, forest visitors must keep pets leashed, crated, caged or otherwise under physical restrictive control, unless it is a seeing eye dog, per federal regulations 36 CFR 261.16(j).

At the Chico Seed Orchard, dogs must be on leash at all times, per Forest Order 08-22-02.

Whether you're on the trail, in a staging area or a campground, always be mindful of other visitors, horses, and wildlife. 

  • Pick up behind your pet when in public areas and be sure to bury their waste when in the wilderness. 
  • Do not tie up dogs and leave them unattended.
  • Do not allow dogs to chase wildlife.
  • Leave unfriendly or loud dogs at home. 

Other national forests may not have the same pet policy. Please check with the national forest office before you visit. 

Find Popular Campgrounds

Select an activity to find an area to visit. 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

Be sure to check the Alerts & Notices for any emergency closures or other information that might affect your visit.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Current Recreation Conditions

Area Name Status Area Conditions
Atchison Campground Unreachable Unreachable May 22, 2024 Update: Downed trees on Atchison-Keller road are blocking access to this campground. Avoid parking or pitching tents under dead standing trees. Use extreme caution in high winds. Downed trees, dropped limbs, stump holes and unstable terrain may be present. Campground is not maintained in winter.
Bear Creek Campground Open Open Vault toilets are full. From west: crossing at Rice Fork is passable in a high clearance 4WD vehicle. From east: Slide around Fouts Springs on the M10 has a temporary repair, but could washout again after a heavy storm. Several spots on the road to this campground are narrow, passable only with high-clearance 4WD.
Camp Discovery Group Campground Open Open Reservations accepted on recreation.gov only. Please see Rules and Reservation Policies for information about the cancellation and reservation change policies. 
Cedar Camp Campground Closed Closed Closed due to safety hazards from the 2018 Ranch Fire and 2020 August Complex. Inaccessible due to slides on M5 Road. Campground will be decommissioned.
Davis Flat Campground Open Open Campground is open. Grindstone OHV trail system may still have damage on trails, downed trees. From the east on M10: The slide above Fouts Springs has been temporarily repaired. It is passable with a lightweight 4wd vehicle, but could slide again after a heavy storm.
Deer Valley Campground Open Open Campground is open. One campsite is closed due to storm damage.
Dixie Glade Campground Open Open From the east on M10: The slide above Fouts Springs has been temporarily repaired. It is passable with a lightweight 4wd vehicle, but could slide again after a heavy storm. No water or trash services. New signs and horse corrals installed in 2023. This area has burned in a recent fire. Downed trees, dropped limbs, stump holes and unstable terrain may be present. Trail system has downed trees and has not been cleared. Avoid parking under dead standing trees.
Eel River Campground Open Open Eel River Campground will be opening for the season on May 17, 2024. Water is not available due to a line break. We will update this page when the water line is repaired. Eel River campground is seasonally closed mid November to April every year.   
Fouts Campground Open Open NO WATER. Campground is open. Grindstone OHV trail system may still have damage on trails, downed trees. From the east on M10: The slide above Fouts Springs has been temporarily repaired. It is passable with a lightweight 4wd vehicle, but could slide again after a heavy storm. See Forest Alerts for more info.
Fuller Grove Campground Open Open
Fuller Grove Group Campground Open Open
Gray Pine Group Campground Open Open Campground is open. Grindstone OHV trail system may still have damage on trails, downed trees. From the east on M10: The slide above Fouts Springs has been temporarily repaired. It is passable with a lightweight 4wd vehicle, but could slide again after a heavy storm. 
Green Springs Campground None None Conditions for summer 2024 season currently unknown, lingering snow, ice and likely downed trees. Corrals have been repaired. Green Springs trail system can be difficult for inexperienced hikers, as there are no trail markers. Water trough, fed perennially by a spring, is available for horses. Downed trees, dropped limbs, stump holes and unstable terrain may be present. Trails may not be cleared. Avoid parking and camping under dead standing trees.
Grizzly Flat Dispersed Camping Open Open Due to recent high winds, trees have fallen and limbs dropped around the campground. Avoid parking or pitching tents under dead standing trees. Use extreme caution in high winds. 
Hammerhorn Campground Closed Closed Closed due to safety hazards from the 2018 Ranch Fire and 2020 August Complex. No access via the M1 or M21.
Howard Lake Campground None None Conditions unknown, lingering snow, ice and likely downed trees. No services; pack out your trash. 
Howard Meadows Campground None None Conditions unknown, lingering snow, ice and likely downed trees. No services; pack out your trash. 
Kingsley Glade Campground Open Open Aug 25, 2022 Update: Campground is reopened. Be aware of the hazards of recreating in a burned forest, including downed trees, stump holes, unstable terrain, and flooding, debris flows, rockfall or slides if there's a storm. Use extreme caution if the wind picks up. Head to a clearing out of reach of falling trees or limbs. Avoid parking under standing dead trees.
Lake Pillsbury None None
Lakeview Dispersed Campground Open Open Dispersed camping. No services, pack out your trash.
Letts Lake Campground Open Open May 2024 Update: Letts Lake is accessible via M10. The road narrows in the area of slide above Fouts Springs, but is ok for lightweight vehicles. Front end day use area of Letts Lake is open. The back loop of Letts Lake Campground is closed for the season. Water supply and trash services are turned OFF for the season. Recreation staff are working to get the back loop opened by Memorial Day but please call ahead to verify before making travel plans. 
Little Doe Campground None None Conditions unknown, lingering snow, ice and likely downed trees. No services; pack out your trash. 
Little Stony Campground Open Open Campground is open. Grindstone OHV trail system may still have damage on trails, downed trees. County Road 42 is accessible. See Forest Alerts for more info.
Lower Nye Campground Closed Closed Closed due to safety hazards from the 2018 Ranch Fire and 2020 August Complex
Masterson Group Campground Open Open FH7 has lingering snow/ice on north-facing slopes, as of May, 14 2024. 
Middle Creek Campground Open Open May 15, 2023: Water line has been repaired and water restored to the campground. Campground is accessible via Elk Mountain Road (County Road 301). Obey all posted signs and never drive around barriers or locked gates. Check Forest Alerts for any closures. 
Mill Creek Campground Open Open Campground is open. Grindstone OHV trail system may still have damage on trails, downed trees. From the east on M10: The slide above Fouts Springs has been temporarily repaired. It is passable with a lightweight 4wd vehicle, but could slide again after a heavy storm.See Forest Alerts for more info.
Mill Valley Campground Open Open March 2024 Update: Water supply and trash services have been turned OFF for the season. From the east on M10: The slide above Fouts Springs has been temporarily repaired. It is passable with a lightweight 4wd vehicle, but could slide again after a heavy storm.
Navy Camp Campground Open Open
North Fork Campground Open Open Open for the season.
Oak Flat Campground Open Open OHV activity in the Lake Pillsbury basin is prohibited annually from May 18 to September 8 for tule elk calving season. Please respect wildlife and do not ride in the basin at this time.
Old Mill Campground Open Open
Penny Pines Campground Open Open Open. The public is free to use the plentiful downed trees and limbs for campfires in the campground and with a valid campfire permit.
Pine Point Picnic Open Open
Plaskett Meadows Campground Closed Closed Campground is closed due to safety hazards. Active hazard tree falling in and around the campground and along FH7. There are numerous dangerous standing dead trees in this campground. Snow in winter can impact access via FH7.
Plaskett Meadows Picnic Open Open July 2023 Conditions: Hazard trees have been cleaned up around the day use area. Several cords of wood and wood rounds are available for pickup for those with a personal use firewood permit. Lake will be stocked soon by California Fish & Wildlife. The nearby Plaskett Meadows Campground remains closed due to public safety risk from dangerous standing dead trees.
Pogie Point Campground Open Open
Red Bluff Recreation Area Open Open Call (530) 934-3316 for information.
South Fork Campground Open Open Campground is open. Grindstone OHV trail system may still have damage on trails, downed trees. From the east on M10: The slide above Fouts Springs has been temporarily repaired. It is passable with a lightweight 4wd vehicle, but could slide again after a heavy storm. See Forest Alerts for more info.
Sugar Spring Campground Open Open
Sugarfoot Glade Campground Open Open May 2023 Update: Reported inaccessible due to downed trees. Be aware of the hazards of recreating in a burned forest, including downed trees, stump holes, unstable terrain, and flooding, debris flows, rockfall or slides if there's a storm. Use extreme caution if the wind picks up. Head to a clearing out of reach of falling trees or limbs. Avoid parking under standing dead trees.
Sunset Campground Open Open
Surveyors Camp Campground Open Open
Sycamore Grove Campground Open Open Make reservations through recreation.gov. To make changes to your reservation please contact the Help Center on Recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777.
Sycamore Grove Picnic Open Open
Three Prong Campground Open Open This area has burned in a recent fire. Downed trees, dropped limbs, stump holes and unstable terrain may be present. Trails may not be cleared. Avoid parking under dead standing trees.
Upper Lake Recreation Area None None
Wells Cabin Campground Open Open Campground has new signs and fire rings installed. 
Whitlock Campground Open Open This area has burned in a recent fire. Downed trees, dropped limbs, stump holes and unstable terrain may be present. Trails may not be cleared. Avoid parking under dead standing trees.

Spotlights

Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness

Yolla Bolly Wilderness Last Camp area

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 »