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NorCal Fire Roads & Family Camping
Posts: 3
July 19, 2016 - 8:10 pm


Hi all,

The family is looking to get out of the house this weekend and maybe hit some fire roads and backwoods camping. Does anyone have any good recommendations?  I was looking in Mendocino NF and there seems to be plenty of sites, but I’m not sure what’s good and not too rough of a ride to get to. 

We’re not limited to Mendocino, so I’ll take any recommendations!

Thank you very much!

Parts Unknown
Posts: 2087

July 19, 2016 - 10:08 pm


Several years ago a group of us went on some fire roads in the Stonyford area. There was also an OHV park somewhere in that area. This was all in early spring though so not sure how hot it will be in the summer.

That’s the furthest I’ve been in that direction for trails.


Here’s some photos from that trip:…..-stonyford

Posts: 494
July 20, 2016 - 10:44 am


I have some friends that love the Stonyford area.  I plan on going sometime soon

():) ():)-----():)

Its a Gee(p) thing

El Dorado
Posts: 856

July 20, 2016 - 11:18 am


I grew up in that area. Not much in the way of difficult wheeling or rocks but you can go on dirt from Williams area, to Stoneyford, West near to 101, and then north to past Covelo.  I would start with doing a trip in to Letts Lake.  Main way is the M10 in from stoneyford but I prefer taking the dirt roads up from highway 20.  Campground is semi-developed with vault toilets and some faucets (non-potable if I remember).  There is a non-extreme rope swing on the west shore of the lake and is perfect for Kayaks or Rafts and fishing.  Located at ~4,500ft elevation so pretty cool.  

You can also continue past letts lake and turn north on M1 to Lake Pillsburry.  Much larger lake with many campgrounds managed by PG&E and there is a small store with a pay phone if you need to communicate with the outside world.  Pillsburry is 45 minutes on dirt roads from any other town but still has houses, boats, and even an air field.  North of the lake on M1 is an old fire lookout just a short drive.  You can also wheel around in the creekbed below the dam and big bridge.  Much cooler water than the lake since it comes off the bottom and usually necessary since it still gets pretty hot at ~2,000ft elevation.

The OHV maps online for Mendocino NF are some of the best I have seen.  There are a number of other campgrounds to choose from as well.

Rocklin, CA
Posts: 321

July 22, 2016 - 1:29 pm


You may want to consider the Bowman Lake area.  A few weeks back I drove from Nevada City to Bowman lake.  It was all fire roads but still a nice enjoyable ride.  There was camping up at the lake and a number of other trails you can explore.

Meadow Vista
Posts: 963

July 22, 2016 - 5:11 pm


Sharkbyte said
You may want to consider the Bowman Lake area.  A few weeks back I drove from Nevada City to Bowman lake.  It was all fire roads but still a nice enjoyable ride.  There was camping up at the lake and a number of other trails you can explore.  

Great suggestion! My wife and I are headed up that way for a daytrip tomorrow. Here are a few suggestions. From the I-80 side, take Hwy 20 to Bowman Lake Road. Make a run up to the top of Grouse Ridge. It’s a short hike from the end of the road to the fire lookout. What a view! Nice lakes in the area include Lindsay Lake (drive to) or park near and hike to Carr and Feely Lakes. If you drive as far as Bowman Lake you can turn off and go to Weaver and McMurray Lakes (moderately rough road) or stay on Meadow Lake Road (Bowman road turns into Meadow Lake Rd. at Bowman Lake) and head up to Sawmill and Faucherie Lakes (road dead ends at Faucherie Lake). Faucherie is a beautiful destination. Rough road but you will see stock two wheel drive cars up there and it is no problem for any stock 4X4 vehicle. Meadow Lake Road will take you to Jackson Meadows Reservoir. From there you can go to Meadow Lake and eventually out on Hwy 89. Or you can loop back to Bowman Lake via Forest Service Rd 41 over the top of Pinoli Ridge (great views at the top) and come back to Bowman Lake past McMurray and Weaver Lakes or just stay on FR 41 to Meadow Lake Rd then back to Bowman Road. Tons of Forest Service and other roads to explore in the area. Be sure to take a good map if you go!

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