South Cow Mountain Recreation Area

Bureau of Land Management, California.

South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area Temporary Closure

The South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area is temporarily closed as of August 2, 2018 due to fire damage until further notice. Please contact the BLM Ukiah Field Office at 707-468-4000 for more information.


The South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area is located within the Mayacamas Mountains, east of the city of Ukiah and west of the city of Lakeport, in Northwestern California. The area offers beautiful views of Ukiah and Lake County; pockets of old-growth fir; several species of oak; willows; over 31 miles of stream; 13 reservoirs; and habitat for blacktail deer, bear, wild turkey, and other upland species.

South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area consists of approximately 23,000 acres of public land that is managed for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use.

There are two developed OHV staging areas within South Cow Mountain with graveled access roads accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles. Access roads into these areas are narrow and winding. Travel trailers and large recreational vehicles are not recommended.

Vehicle use within the recreation area is limited to the 94 miles of designated roads and trails and is appropriate for motorcycle, Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV), and 4-wheel drive vehicles. The trails are marked with numbered signs displaying difficulty ratings (ranging from easy to extremely difficult) and the recommended vehicle type depending on the width of the trail.

Temporary Weather Closures

To protect roads and trails from damage, South Cow Mountain is closed during periods of precipitation. Temporary closures begin when: 1) precipitation exceeds 4 inches at the beginning of the rainy season (typically November); and 2) precipitation falls 1/2 inch within 24 hours, or 1 inch within 72 hours. Typically, South Cow Mountain will reopen after 72 hours of no precipitation.

To determine whether South Cow Mountain is open, please contact the Ukiah Field Office at (707) 468-4000.


Visitors are responsible for knowing area rules and regulations. The regulations are enforceable under U.S. Code of Federal Regulations and violations are punishable with fines up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for not longer than 12 months.

All vehicles must meet state and federal noise standards. Appointments can be made to test your OHV or motorcycle for sound compliance. Appointments may be scheduled based on staff availability. Please call the Ukiah Field Office at (707)468-4000 to check appointment availability and to schedule an appointment.

Operation and maintenance of the facilities, roads and trails within the Indian Valley Management Area are funded in part, by the State of California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division.

For more information or to review current and past grants visit: California State Parks.

For information about ATV safety visit: ATV Safety Institute.

For safety information or Recreational Vehicle training visit: Recreational Off-highway Vehicle Association.

Cow Mountain Recreation Area

For more OHV opportunities, visit these other BLM Managed Off-Highway Vehicle Areas located in Northern California and Nevada:

Knoxville Recreation Management Area
Indian Valley Recreation Area
Fort Sage OHV Area
Dry Valley OHV Area
Chappie-Shasta OHV Area
Rice Canyon OHV Area

Emergency Information:
In case of an emergency call 9-1-1
Mendocino County Sheriff (707) 463-4411
Lake County Sheriff (707) 272-4200


Westside Staging Area
Vault toilet
Double unloading ramp
Bulletin board with OHV and area information
Trash receptacles
Four sites with picnic tables and barbeques

Oakwood Springs Staging Area
Vault toilet
Unloading ramp
Bulletin board with OHV and area information
Trash receptacles
Three sites with picnic tables and barbeques

Red Mountain Campground
Vault toilets
Ten campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, and barbeques
Trash receptacles
Bulletin board with OHV and area information

Buckhorn Campground
Vault toilet
Trash receptacles
Four campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, and barbeques


Camping is allowed throughout the recreation area, however all vehicles must remain on designated routes and trails. The campgrounds afford level parking, barbeques, fire pits and picnic tables. Camping near springs or guzzlers isn’t permitted, to protect the water source and to allow access to wildlife. To insure you do not displace wildlife, camp at least 300 yards from any water source. No potable water is available within the recreation area.

There is no fee for camping. All sites are on a first-come first-served basis.

Camping at one or more campsites at any one campground in a recreation management area for a period longer than 14 days during any 30-consecutive-day period is prohibited without the written permission of the BLM Ukiah Field Office Manager.


Campfires are allowed within South Cow Mountain provided you have a current campfire permit. Seasonal fire restrictions may prohibit campfires during periods of high fire danger. To check on fire restrictions or to obtain a campfire permit, call BLM Ukiah Field Office at (707) 468-4000.


Some sections of the trail pass through private lands. Please obey signs and stay on the trails. Please respect the rights of private land owners and signs posted in these areas.


Hunting is a popular sport throughout South Cow Mountain. Please share the area and watch for OHV riders when hunting in the area.

For more information on hunting regulations, please call the California Department of Fish and Game at (707) 944-5500.

Target shooting is prohibited on South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area.


In Ukiah, take State Highway 101 south to the Talmage exit. Go east on Talmage Road about 1.5 miles. Turn right at East Side Road. Travel less than 0.5 mile to Mill Creek Road, which is on the left. Continue on Mill Creek Road 5 miles for entrance to South Cow Mountain.