If you’re headed from Hopland to Ukiah and you’re not in a hurry, and if you’d like to take in some Northern California countryside not often seen by visitors, here’s a 55-mile tour with stretches that range from the serene to the pulse-pounding. It’s perfect for experienced motorcyclists looking for a challenging ride, and it’s a treat for adventuresome motorists. There are twisting, turning mountain roads with spectacular scenery, gentle country roads and even a few miles of straight and rarely congested freeway.
From its T-junction at Hwy 101 in Hopland take Hwy 175 East, even though Ukiah is to the north. This is probably the most interesting leg of the journey, with the road closely hugging mountainsides in places, and sheer drop-offs to one side. Follow Hwy 175 about 18 miles to Hwy 29, just south of Lakeport. By the time you get there you will have crossed into Lake County and gained about 850 feet in elevation. Hwy 175 has some pretty steep grades and turns with limited visibility, so keep an eye out for oncoming drivers taking blind turns too quickly.
Turn north on Hwy 29 and follow it 11 miles to Hwy 20, just before the town of Upper Lake. Then turn west onto Hwy 20 and take it about 19 miles to Hwy 101. You’ll pass Lower Blue Lake and Blue Lakes, re-enter Mendocino County, and drive past Lake Mendocino. Once you’re on Hwy 101 it’s only 7 miles south to Ukiah.
A heads up: although you won’t have trouble finding fuel in Hopland, Lakeport, Upper Lake or Ukiah, there’s really nothing in the way of gas stations in between.
Next Up: #6 – Gualala Point Regional Park