NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California


Mendocino National Forest- Forest Road M3- Nowhere to Nowhere

This road will appeal mostly to backpackers; it traverses the interior of the forest in a north-south direction and takes one to numerous trailheads within the Snow Mountain Wilderness and the State Game Refuge. At it's southern end it starts west of the Bear Creek Campground on FR M10 where that road turns into County Road 301C. If you are traveling west on FR M10 you are set; simply turn right at the marker. If you are coming in fresh from the west side of the forest, you can start at the town of Upper Lake. Turn left onto Elk Mountain Rd., which becomes FR M1, heading north. Just past the Penny Pines Campground turn right (northeast) on County Road 301C to the junction of FR M10- Bear Creek Road. Turn left (north) on FR M3- Rice Creek Rd.

As you head north you will pass a number of trailheads. First up is Copper Butte, followed shortly by Skeleton Glade and Lower Nye. The latter has a small campground.

Lower Nye Campground

Location: FR M3 as noted above.

Attraction: Some services, as noted below. Close to several trailheads heading into the Snow Mountain Wilderness.

Campsite Description: 6 sites for tents or RV's to 16 feet. Picnic tables, fire grills and vault toilets. No drinking water.

Season: Year-round, weather permitting.

Reservations: None accepted.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access No
Fees None   Fishing No
Hook-ups No   Boating No
Drinking Water No   Lake on Site No
Showers No   Elev 3,300 feet
Toilets Pit   Supplies None nearby

Information: Mendocino National Forest, Upper Lake Ranger District. (707) 275-2361.

Day Hikes in Area: As noted above.

Backpacking Hikes in Area:

Off-Road Opportunities in Area:

A few miles and many switchbacks later you will arrive at the next and last established campground, West Crockett. It has two campsites and a pit toilet.

Hiker Alert! This spot is notable because from the West Crocket trailhead you can hike (or ride as in ride a horse) the 6.8 mile Waterfall Loop. Here at norcalroadtrips we lose all perspective when you mention a waterfall. No hardship to too great as long as the fall puts out at least a little bit of water. The trail also offers views of Lake Pillsbury and Stony Creek Canyon and access to Stony Creek. It traverses Milk Ranch, a private ranch whose owner tolerates well-behaved trespassers. Adjoining trailheads include East Peak Loop, Milk Ranch Trail, North Ridge Loop and Crooked Tree Trail.

West Crockett Campground

Location: Forest Road M3 as noted above.

Attraction: A toilet. Access to several trails within the Snow Mountain Wilderness.

Campsite Description: 2 sites with a pit toilet and picnic table.

Season: May- November.

Reservations: None accepted.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access No
Fees None   Fishing No
Hook-ups No   Boating No
Drinking Water No   Lake on Site No
Showers No   Elev 5,100 feet
Toilets Pit   Supplies None nearby

Information: Mendocino National Forest, Upper Lake Ranger District. (707) 275-2361.

Day Hikes in Area: As noted above.

Backpacking Hikes in Area:

Off-Road Opportunities in Area:

Heading north again, you will pass the Windy Point and Cold Creek trailheads in close proximity to each other. The road then heads north to the intersection with Forest Highway FH7 and ends. See our write-up on FH7 if you wish.

End of Trip