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A Weekend in Mendocino


Last weekend Lisa and I took a couple of days away from the munchkins (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!) to venture up the coast to Mendocino County.  I’ve been wanting to explore the massive Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) after a mate of mine told me last year it was some of the best undiscovered mountain biking he’s ridden in Northern California. After a fun Halloween evening in Healdsburg the night before we ventured off early Saturday morning, working our way up 101 through Willits and then over the mountainous Highway 20 to Fort Bragg.  We entered JDSF about 20 miles out of our destination of Fort Bragg on the coast, immediately realizing the huge swath of land covered by California’s largest state forest.  A couple of miles north of Fort Bragg we setup camp at MacKerricher State Park, scoring a fantastic spot about 100 yards back from the crashing waves secluded behind some cypress trees. On the way to the trailhead in JDSF we stopped off to take a look at Point Cabrillo, an old lighthouse about halfway between Mendocino and Fort Bragg that can now be rented for vacations and a spot we have in mind for a return trip to the area. It was an awesome old place, fully renovated with a lot of attention paid to keeping the old Victorian the historic landmark it is.

Given that all the trails in JDSF are unmarked, are all located under the canopy of the redwoods (so you can’t keep an eye on the horizon or landmarks) and the fact that the forest covers almost 50,000 acres it was recommended to us that we tee up with one of the local mountain bike guides for our adventure, so before we made the trip we’d organized to tour JDSF with one of the guides from Mendocino Bike Sprite.  Amy – the owner of MBS – was a fantastic companion, the density of the forest and myriad trails running through the woods made her in invaluable addition to our adventure.  She was also a wealth of knowledge about the local area, recommending some spots for dinner and also helping us with suggestions for rides in addition to the three hour adventure we had with her through JDSF.  I can attest that it is definitely some of the best mountain biking to be had in Northern California.  It’s not Downieville with 5,000 vertical foot descents running for over an hour, but JDSF boasts everything from technical, tight, root-strewn trails to fast, sweeping singletracks, all of it under the canopy of old growth redwoods through gardens of lush ferns and a plethora of spring-fed creeks.  We honestly didn’t even notice exerting ourselves on the climbs because we were so in awe of our picturesque surrounds.  Yes, we will definitely be back.  As soon as possible.  Some shots from the GoPro here, the low light under the canopy of the redwoods made it a little tricky to get good stills, but you get the idea…

A Weekend in Mendocino  

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  1. Pop Pop says:

    Awesome, good times

  2. Mummy says:

    And no leeches, mosquito’s or fly’s while riding! We will definitely be back!

  3. Auntie Anita says:

    Awesome. What a ride

  4. […] of the day on Saturday riding amongst the redwoods, love the trails up there. I had my GPS with me the last time we rode the JDSF trail system with a guide so we could go back by ourselves without fear of getting lost, we were thankful we had […]