Cow Mountain Recreation Area
Named for the longhorn cattle that once roamed wild, the 52,000-acre Cow Mountain Recreation Area offers a variety of recreational opportunities. The terrain is rugged, consisting mostly of steep, chaparral-covered slopes with scattered stands of fir, pine and oak. Elevations range from 800 to 4,000 feet. The area offers beautiful views of Ukiah and Clear Lake, over 31 miles of stream, 13 wildlife reservoirs, and habitat for blacktail deer, bear, wild turkey, and other upland species.
The Recreation Area is divided into three management sections to provide quality recreational opportunities for a wide variety of users: North Cow Mountain Recreation Area, South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area and the Sheldon Creek Recreation Site.
Access roads into these areas are narrow and winding. Travel trailers and large recreational vehicles are not recommended.
-South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area emphasizes off-highway vehicle use. Over 120 miles of vehicle trails interweave 23,000 acres, and offer challenges to motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, and four-wheel drive enthusiasts alike. Non-motorized recreation is also welcome. There are two developed campgrounds and two OHV staging areas to help make your visit enjoyable.
From Ukiah, take State Highway 101 to the Talmage Road exit. Go east on Talmage Road about 1.5 miles. Turn right at Old River Road. and proceed 0.3 miles to Mill Creek Road. Turn left on Mill Creek Road and continue east 6 miles to entrance to South Cow Mountain.
From Lakeport, take State Highway 29 to the 11th street exit. Go west on 11th street (which becomes Scotts Valley Road) 0.5 miles. Turn left on Riggs Road and continue west and south 0.75 miles to Scotts Creek Road. Turn right and proceed west on Scotts Creek Road 2 miles.
The South Cow Mountain area is subject to closure during periods of wet weather. During the rainy season, call (707)468-4000 24 hours a day for current conditions before you come. You can also check the Cow Mountain webcams to see if the gates are open or closed.
Click here to view Wet Weather Vehicle Closure Policy
Live Webcams for the Westside Staging Area and Scotts Creek Entrance to South Cow Mountain OHV Area
You now have another way to be able to actually see if the entrances to the South Cow Mountain OHV Area is open or closed - just take a look at the live webcams of the Westside or Scotts Creek Staging Areas before you leave home. The gate is visible on the webcam photo. You can also see how many vehicles are parked in the parking area to see how busy the OHV area is that day. Please check the date and time stamp on the image to ensure that the information is current. If you don't see an image, it may be during the hours that the camera is off-line. You can also call (707) 468-4000 for the current status of Cow Mountain.
- North Cow Mountain Recreation Area is managed for primarily non-motorized activities, such as hunting, hiking, camping, horseback riding, and mountain bicycling. There is one developed campground, a designated rifle range and a 17 mile network of foot trails beckoning to the adventurous spirit. Motorized vehicles are permitted only on main road, and off-highway vehicles are prohibited.
From Ukiah, take State Highway 101 to the Talmage Road exit. Go east on Talmage Road about 1.5 miles. Turn right at East Side Road and proceed 0.3 miles to Mill Creek Road. Turn left on Mill Creek Road and continue east about 3 miles to turnoff for the North Cow Mountain Area. Turn left and continue up steep, winding dirt road 0.5 miles to BLM public lands.
From Lakeport, take State Highway 29 to the 11th street exit. Go west on 11th street, which becomes Scotts Valley Road. Continue on Scotts Valley Road 6 miles to Glenn Eden Trailhead on the right. Park in signed areas.
Camping and Lodging
Mayacmas Campground (north): In Ukiah, exit U.S. 101 South at Talmage Road, then 1.5 miles east to Eastside Road. Turn right and proceed 0.3 mile to Mill Creek Road. Turn left and proceed 3 miles to Mendo Rock Road, and follow to site, about 10 miles. This is a primitive recreation site. 6 units, barbecue grates, pit toilets. There is no potable water
Goat Rock (north): In Ukiah, exit U.S. 101 South at Talmage Road, then 1.5 miles east to Eastside Road. Turn right and proceed 0.3 mile to Mill Creek Road. Turn left and proceed 3 miles to Mendo Rock Road, park at Mendo Rock Road. Take Glen Eden trail east about 4 miles: hiking or horseback access only. There are 2 units, picnic tables, fire grates/BBQ, and water for animals only.
Red Mountain Campground (south): In Ukiah, exit U.S. 101 South at Talmage Road, then 1.5 miles east to Eastside Road. Turn right and proceed 0.3 mile to Mill Creek Road. Follow Mill Creek Road 5 miles to staging area, veer right where road forks (there is a directional sign) and continue 2.5 miles to Red Mountain Campground. 10 units, toilets, barbecue grates, and picnic tables. There is no potable water at this time.
Buckhorn (south): In Ukiah, exit U.S. 101 South at Talmage Road, then 1.5 miles east to Eastside Road. Turn right and proceed 0.3 mile to Mill Creek Road. Follow Mill Creek Road 5 miles to staging area, veer right where road forks (there is a directional sign) and continue about 3.5 miles on turning at the trail #20. There are 4 units, picnic tables, fire grates/BBQs, and toilet facilities. There is no potable water.
Sheldon Creek (detached): U.S. 101 to Hopland Road in Hopland, east 3 miles to Old Toll Road, 8 miles south on a gravel road. There are 6 units, toilet facilities, picnic tables, and fire grates/BBQs. This is a primitive recreation site. There is no potable water.
More to know before you go The best times to visit are fall, winter, and spring. On South Cow Mountain, there are about 125 miles of off-highway vehicle trails and roads. The access from Scotts Creek Road is a rugged, unimproved dirt road, which is impassable during the winter because of high water at a creek crossing. Before exploring the Cow Mountain Recreation area, obtain a free map at the BLM office in Ukiah. All roads are steep and winding and not recommended for recreational vehicles. There is no potable water at most site campgrounds.
View Recreation Regulations
For more information, contact:
Bureau of Land Management
Ukiah Field Office
2550 North State Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
Phone: (707) 468-4000
Request Recreation Maps
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