Named for the wild longhorn cattle that once roamed there, the 52,000-acre Cow Mountain Recreation Area offers lots of recreational opportunities. The terrain is rugged, with steep, chaparral-covered slopes and scattered stands of fir, pine and oak. The elevation varies from 800 to 4,000 feet, and the area offers spectacular views of Ukiah and Clear Lake. Over 30 miles of streams and more than a dozen wildlife reservoirs help make Cow Mountain premium wildlife habitat. The Recreation Area is divided into three very different management sections:
South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area emphasizes off-highway vehicle use. Over 120 miles of vehicle trails cross 23,000 acres, and offer challenges to motorcycle, ATV, and four-wheel drive enthusiasts. There are two developed campgrounds and two OHV staging areas.
North Cow Mountain Recreation Area is managed primarily for such non-motorized activities as hunting, hiking, camping, horseback riding and mountain bicycling. There is one developed campground, a designated rifle range and a 17 mile network of hiking trails.
Sheldon Creek Recreation Site is a detached area offering primitive recreational opportunities. It is located near Hopland. North and South Cow Mountain are closer to Ukiah, and are accessed off Talmage Road from Hwy 101 South. There are several entrances.
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