Some of the best singletrack on the North Coast can be found a few miles east of the small town of Mendocino.
The Mendocino Woodlands State Park is an unreal place to ride, and a super unique locale to visit. Set in the middle of a dense, dank, supernatural forest, when you get there you’ll feel like you just entered the Ewok Village from Star Wars
Tan Oak, Madrone, Douglas Fir, and Redwood trees blanket the whole State Park and encompass the majority of the environment you ride in. If you’re looking for super techy stuff you might think the Park is a little “fluffy”, but if you’re into singletracks that interconnect for miles and wind their way through an absolutely breathtaking forest backdrop, with a few technical sections thrown in there, and a whole bunch of mini bridges, creeks, and other cross-country type obstacles to deal with, you’ll be fired-up to ride here.
While many people venture out to Mendocino Woodlands State Park to camp, hike, or just plain take a rain check from reality for a little while, the more people I spoke with about “top-notch” mountain biking from Sonoma County up to Humboldt, the more people told me to check this park out.
A few, not just one or two, but a few riders acknowledged I was from Tahoe, have world-class riding out my backdoor, and that I’d be stoked to come here because “this place is this shit”. Thankfully, they were spot on.
I love riding at home, but the “dust factor” is nowhere to be found when you’re riding trails like these. Beyond the exploration of several trails, spurs, and different sections of the park, Manly Gulch was the highlight ride. It’s definitely not Whistler, but the trail was the most fun ride I’ve done outside of Tahoe (and Downieville) in a long time. I suggest grabbing a map when you show up to the park, or using the one I linked.
Situated close to the coast, you can either get lost in the forests of the park, camp, rent a cabin, or hit a ride in the morning/afternoon, and be surfing before sunset with ease. If you bike, and are heading to, or planning on a trip towards Mendo, check this place out. There is no doubt you will be stoked, and just like a lot of the picturesque spots on the North Coast, chances are you’ll be looking for excuses to stay here and ride for as long as you possibly can before going back to “the real world”.