East of Ukiah and north of Upper Lake in the Mendocino National Forest, the Upper Lake OHV Area has miles of trails open to OHV use. The northern half of the riding area has 33 miles of trails and roads open. The routes pass through beautiful scenery and challenging terrain. The basin is closed annually from May 18 through September 8 to OHV use (see trail map). During this closure you are welcome to truck your bikes out of the basin and ride the trails. Many of the trails in this area are 4WD trails. The boundary runs generally North from Scott Dam along Road 20N01 to Coyote Rock then easterly along the southern base of Boardman Ridge to Big Squaw Valley, then southwest to the US Forest Service Summer Home Tract, then southeast to Thistle Glade, then westerly to Rice Fork Summer Homes, then southwest to Split Rock, then northeast to Scott Dam.
Directions: From I-5 or Highway 101, proceed on Highway 20 towards Clear Lake. Closest access is through either Upper Lake or Potter Valley, and both are northeast of Clear Lake. Both routes include several miles of gravel road before reaching the lake and these roads should be traveled cautiously, especially in inclement weather.
Access through Upper Lake: In Upper Lake, CA, at the intersection of State Highway 20 and Main St., take Main St. 0.9 miles to Elk Mountain Rd. (a.k.a. County Rd 301 and Forest Rd M1). Turn left onto Elk Mountain Rd. and proceed approximately 20 miles until you reach the Lake Pillsbury Basin. This route is generally easier to follow, but is higher in elevation and so is closed at times due to storms/snow.
Access through Potter Valley: From Highway 20, about 2 miles east of Lake Mendocino, turn north towards Potter Valley on Mendocino Co Rd 249. Proceed approximately 6 miles to the town of Potter Valley and turn right on 249 to the north. Continue approximately 4 miles as the road crosses the valley, winds up and over a ridge, dropping into the Eel River drainage. As you descend, take the paved, right hand fork in the road. Continue downhill about 1 mile, stay on the paved road, and bear right and cross the Eel River Bridge. Turn right after crossing the bridge and the paved road soon turns into a gravel road. Follow this gravel road for approximately 10 miles. It starts as Mendocino Co Rd 240 and turns into Lake County Rd 301. You encounter pavement again before you cross the Soda Creek Bridge. You can turn left or right on this paved road. Different portions of the basin are accessed off this road.
Upper Lake - North Trails
Trail# Miles Level Trail Name
60 4.1 Ericson Ridge
61 1.3 Coyote Rock
62 1.0 Oak Flat
63 3.0 Browns Gulch
64 3.4 Powder House
65 4.0 Powder House
66 1.3 Refuge
67 2.8 Rattlesnake
68 2.8 Cabbage Patch
69 8.4 Windy Point
Note: As of September 2007, ATV riding on Forest Service roads outside of the OHV Area is only permitted for ATVs with valid license plates.
Overall, Upper Lake OHV Area - North is the 94th most popular ATV riding trail of all 106 ATV trails in California.