Description - Located just east of Covelo, the Ranger District oversees of 207,101 acres in the northwestern region of Mendocino National Forest. The District's highest point is Solomon Peak (7,581 feet) in the Yolla Bolly - Middle Eel Wilderness, on the District boundary with Grindstone Ranger District. The lowest elevation on the District is 1,480 feet, where the Middle Fork Eel and Black Butte Rivers leave the Forest near their confluence.
All of the Ranger Districts have a wide variety of wildflowers that bloom at various times through spring and summer: California poppy, penstemon, shooting stars, wild iris, milkweed, Indian paintbrush, buttercups, dogwood, wild lilac, and many varieties of lupine. Vegetation types include mixed conifer forests, oak woodlands and savannah, chaparral, annual and perennial grass glades, and wet meadows.
The Districts also share many species of wildlife in common, including black-tailed deer, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, skunk, badger, gray squirrel, ground squirrel, rattlesnakes, gopher snakes, lizards, toads, pacific tree frog, quail, wild turkey, blue grouse, golden eagle, spotted owl, goshawk, prairie falcon, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, turkey buzzard, scrub jays, and a variety of migratory birds and woodpeckers. Salmon and steelhead spawn in streams of the Covelo and Upper Lake Ranger Districts, and rainbow trout, western pond turtle, and yellow-legged frog live in and around many of the streams of each of the three Districts.
The waters of the Mendocino flow to the Pacific Ocean, westward through the Eel River system, and eastward through the Sacramento River system and San Francisco Bay.
- The District offers several trailheads to access the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness such as the Soldier Ridge Trailhead, Georges Valley Trailhead and the Rock Cabin Trailhead. From these trailheads you can access a majority of the views and scenery that the Forest has to offer. Travel times to the major trailheads range from three to six hours from the San Francisco Bay Area, including one to two hours on dirt roads.
Of the several trails the Forest offers the Travelers Home National Recreational Trail and Hell Hole Canyon provide access to the interior of the Forest. Horseback riding and mountain biking are permitted on many of these trails. These trails can be used for overnight backpacking trips of simple day hikes.
A popular attraction on the Covelo Ranger District is Howard and Hammerhorn Lakes where fishing and camping is enjoyed. Rainbow trout fishing is limited. Hammerhorn has a developed campground while Howard has unimproved sites with no water or toilets. Primitive camping is also available away from the lakes.
Note: Please be careful with fire. Watch for ticks, poison oak, yellow jackets, hornets, scorpions and snakes.
Recreation - The Covelo Ranger District offers several opportunities to hike, camp and ride in the Mendocino National Forest.
Climate - The climate on the Mendocino is greatly influenced by elevation. As throughout California, most of the precipitation comes between November and April. This comes in the form of rain at the lower elevations and some wet, heavy snow in the higher elevations. April through October are normally dry, with warm to hot temperatures at the low elevations and moderate temperatures in the higher elevations.
Covelo Ranger District is located in the northwestern region of Mendocino National Forest, just south of the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness Area. The District encompasses the portion of the forest just east of Covelo.