South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area

Effective Wednesday, June 28, 2023, the BLM Ukiah Field Office issued an updated Fire Prevention Order due to increased wildland fire danger. For specific questions, please contact the Ukiah Field Office at (707) 468-4000. Fire Prevention Order

State of California campfire permits are available for free at all BLM, USFS and CAL FIRE offices or at


Vehicle traffic through the Scotts Creek entrance is restricted to the access road. Vehicle barriers were installed along the access road to protect sensitive Hitch habitat. Please contact the Ukiah Field Office at (707)468-4000 for further information.


The South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area is located within the Mayacamas Mountains, east of the city of Ukiah and west of the city of Lakeport, in Northwestern California. The area offers beautiful views of Ukiah and Lake County; pockets of old-growth fir; several species of oak; willows; over 31 miles of stream; 13 reservoirs; and habitat for blacktail deer, bear, wild turkey, and other upland species.

Cow Mountain Recreation Area

South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area consists of approximately 23,000 acres of public land that is managed for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use.

There are two developed OHV staging areas within South Cow Mountain with graveled access roads accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles. Access roads into these areas are narrow and winding. Travel trailers and large recreational vehicles are not recommended.

Vehicle use within the recreation area is limited to the 94 miles of designated roads and trails and is appropriate for motorcycle, Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV), and 4-wheel drive vehicles. The trails are marked with numbered signs displaying difficulty ratings (ranging from easy to extremely difficult) and the recommended vehicle type depending on the width of the trail.

Operation and maintenance of the facilities, roads and trails within the South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area are funded in part, by the State of California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. 

For more information or to review current and past OHV grants, visit: California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation

Click here to comment on our California State Parks OHV grant preliminary applications. The public comment period will be open from March 8, 2022 to May 2, 2022.


For information about ATV safety, visit: ATV Safety Institute

For safety information or Recreational Vehicle training, visit: Recreational Off-highway Vehicle Association


Emergency Information:

  • In case of an emergency call 9-1-1
  • Mendocino County Sheriff (707) 463-4411
  • Lake County Sheriff (707) 272-4200

Staging Areas and Campgrounds 

Westside Staging Area 

  • Vault toilets 
  • Double unloading ramp 
  • Bulletin board with OHV and area information 
  • Trash receptacles 
  • Four picnic sites with picnic tables and barbecues
  • Overflow parking

Oakwood Springs Staging Area 

  • Vault toilet
  • Bulletin board with OHV and area information
  • Trash receptacles 
  • Three sites with picnic tables and barbecues

Red Mountain Campground 

  • Vault toilets
  • Ten campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, and barbecues
  • Group campsite with picnic tables, fire rings, and barbecues
  • Trash receptacles
  • Bulletin board with OHV and area information

Buckhorn Campground 

  • Vault toilet
  • Trash receptacles
  • Four campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, and barbecues


Dispersed camping is allowed throughout South Cow Mountain; however all vehicles must remain on designated routes and trails. The campgrounds afford level parking, barbecues, fire pits, and picnic tables. Camping near springs or guzzlers will prevent wildlife from using the water source. To insure you do not displace wildlife and livestock camp at least 300 yards from any water source. No potable water is available within the recreation area.



Campfires are allowed within South Cow Mountain provided you have a current campfire permit. Seasonal fire restrictions may prohibit campfires during periods of high fire danger. To check on fire restrictions, call BLM Ukiah Field Office at (707) 468-4000. 

California campfire permits are available free online at or at all BLM, U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire offices.

For updates, a complete list of restrictions, including an interactive map, please visit the BLM California Fire Restrictions.


Hunting and Shooting

Hunting is a popular activity throughout South Cow Mountain. Please share the area and watch for OHV riders when hunting in the area. Target shooting is prohibited. The closest designated shooting area is at the Shooting Range within the North Cow Mountain Recreation Area.

NOTE: All California game species are regulated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Rules, regulations, and seasons are controlled by CDFW, and it is the hunter’s responsibility to verify and comply with proper species, seasons, zones, regulations, and legal location if hunting on public lands.

FGC 3004 – It is unlawful for any person to hunt or discharge while hunting, any firearm or other deadly weapon within 150 yards of any occupied dwelling house, residence, or other building or any barn or other outbuilding used in connection therewith. The 150-yard area is a "Safety Zone."


OHV Regulations

Visitors are responsible for knowing area rules and regulations. The regulations are enforceable under U.S. Code of Federal Regulations and violations are punishable with fines up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for not longer than 12 months.

  • Vehicle use is limited to roads and trails designated by fiberglass sign posts and stickers showing vehicles allowed on the route. Please do not ride on routes that are not signed.
  • All off road vehicles must have a CA Green Sticker, Red Sticker or be legally registered in another state.
  • All off road vehicles must be equipped with a properly installed U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrestor that is not modified.
  • It is illegal to ride or drive under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or other drugs.
  • State law requires the use of helmets while riding ATV's and motorcycles.
  • State law does not allow passengers on ATV's unless the ATV was specifically designed for two or more people.


Private Lands

Some sections of the trail pass through private lands. Please obey signs and stay on the trails. Please respect the rights of private landowners and signs posted in these areas.


Temporary Weather Closures

To protect roads and trails from damage, South Cow Mountain is closed during periods of precipitation. Temporary closures begin when: 1) precipitation exceeds 4 inches at the beginning of the rainy season (typically November); and 2) precipitation falls 1/2 inch within 24 hours, or 1 inch within 72 hours. Typically, South Cow Mountain will reopen after 72 hours of no precipitation.

To determine whether South Cow Mountain is open, please contact the Ukiah Field Office at (707) 468-4000.

South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area in the Ukiah Field Office

Other Nearby OHV Opportunities

For more OHV opportunities, visit these other BLM Managed Off-Highway Vehicle areas located in Northern California and Nevada:

Knoxville Management Area
Fort Sage OHV Area
Dry Valley OHV Area
Chappie-Shasta OHV Area
Rice Canyon OHV Area


Adventure is at Your Fingertips



The letters OHV
Iconograph of a tent


Mendo-Lake Rd


In Ukiah, take State Highway 101 south to the Talmage exit. Go east on Talmage Road about 1.5 miles. Turn right at East Side Road. Travel less than 0.5 mile to Mill Creek Road, which is on the left. Continue on Mill Creek Road 5 miles for entrance to South Cow Mountain.