June 23, 2015 by Joe Kukura

Bring your four-wheeler, dirtbike or ATV

June 25, 2015 – Your four-wheeler, dirt bike or ATV is right at home in northern California’s Lake County, an unspoiled and rugged region two hours north of San Francisco. Lake County has an array of parks, trails and forests ideal for an off-road adventure, many of them with developed paths and trails designated specifically for off-roaders.

Many people come to northern California’s wine country for a serene and elegant experience, but off-roaders will find wine country also offers an awesome terrain of mountains and forests carved with wildlife-rich off-road trails.

Two areas in Lake County most notable for their popular off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails are Mendocino National Forest and Cow Mountain. Mendocino has hundreds of miles of wilderness trails that are recognized as a model for environmentally sound OHV recreation. Cow Mountain has more than 120 miles of OHV trails plus designated, well-maintained camping areas.

The Mendocino National Forest is nearly one million acres, and offers hiking, hunting, camping and fishing opportunities galore. The forest has several notable OHV trails that are well maintained and have navigational signs posted throughout. Campgrounds are equipped with picnic tables, toilets, fire rings or stoves, and offer easy access to all the OHV trails. Maps of the Mendocino National Forest trails can be found on the US Forest Service’s Mendocino National Forest website.

The Cow Mountain Recreation Area is unique in that the north end of the park is OHV-free and intended as a hiking and hunting area. The south side of the park, though, is designated specifically as an OHV park. You won’t find cows on Cow Mountain anymore, though many of these trails were developed by cattle ranchers. What you will find is exciting and challenging terrain with both jeep trails and dirt-bike trails. Many of the single-track trails will go to elevations of nearly 4,000 feet.

And since Lake County has the cleanest air in the United States, you can often see clearly for miles from many of the vantage points.

So whether you’re looking for a rough and rugged outdoor adventure or just looking to enjoy the majestic sights and landscape of the northern California countryside, Lake County offers some of the most scenic, public off-roading in the region.