Description - The Forest is approximately 65 miles long and 35 miles across, consisting of one million acres of mountains and canyons which offer a variety of recreational opportunities. 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 8,092 feet, height of the South Yolla Bolly Mountain in the northern part of the Forest. The average elevation is about 4,000 feet.
- The only one of California's 18 national forests not crossed by a paved road or highway, the Mendocino National Forest is especially attractive to people seeking an outdoor experience of tranquillity and solitude.
Two wilderness areas are located on the Mendocino National Forest. Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness sits at the northern end of the Forest and Snow Mountain Wilderness is located at the southern end.
The Lake Red Bluff Recreation Area, located along the Sacramento River, is administered by the Mendocino. It offers camping, fishing and boating.
Recreation - The diverse geography of the Mendocino offers numerous recreational opportunities including camping, hiking, backpacking, boating, fishing, hunting, nature study, photography, and off-highway vehicle travel.
Camping opportunities on the Forest range from developed campgrounds with some facilities, to dispersed campsites to backcountry camping.
The Mendocino National Forest supports an extensive resident trout fishery as well as salmon and warm-water fisheries. Rainbow trout are found in over 300 miles of streams and 2,000 acres of lakes and ponds.
The varied terrain of the Mendocino offers endless opportunities for mountain bikers. Wilderness areas are one of the few places on the Forest where bicycles are not permitted.
The Mendocino National Forest offers one of the finest opportunities for OHV recreationists in Northern California. Designated routes and facilities exist for the enjoyment of the OHV recreationist. Basic OHV rules and regulations are posted at most staging areas and campgrounds where OHV use is allowed. Free OHV maps are available covering the Grindstone and Upper Lake Districts.
Climate - The climate on the Mendocino is greatly influenced by elevation. As throughout California, most of the precipitation comes between November and April. This comes in the form of rain at the lower elevations and some wet, heavy snow in the higher elevations. April through October are normally dry, with warm to hot temperatures at the low elevations and moderate temperatures in the higher elevations.
The Mendocino National Forest straddles the eastern spur of the Coastal Mountain Range in northwestern California, just a three hour drive north of San Francisco and Sacramento. The Forest lies roughly between the towns of Willows, Covelo and Upper Lake, with Forest Service offices in each of those towns.