cookhouse gulch - TRAIL

cookhouse gulch - Trail, mendocino, California

steep single track and double track.

User Reviews (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6  
damian911   Weekend Warrior [Jul 07, 2010]

As everyone says, Catch a Canoe, which is right at the mouth of Big River on the south bank, has great full color maps of this area as well as many other hiking and biking trails in Mendocino area.

"Cookhouse Gulch" is actually just a single short trail that is part of the Jackson State forest system. It runs down (or up) between the 200' elevation river valley and the 900'-1000' ridge line along County Road 408. The other main trail in this area is Manly Gulch and the hiking-only Forest History trail.

Cookhouse and Manly loop is a short ride, when done as a loop it's basically 2 mi up, 1 mile flat at the top, 2 miles down, and 1 mile flat at the bottom. While short, there is ~900' of elevation gain. Nothing too steep and smooth it can't be ridden, but there are no flats along the way to catch your breath.

Beautiful terrain, cool weather, and a great quick vacation ride. Bring the light colored lenses, because even when this area is sunny, the entire trail is at the base of 100' redwoods. Not at all technical - beautiful smooth singletrack the whole way, except for a mile or so on smooth fire road at the bottom to connect the trails.

Easiest way to the trail is to turn inland from highway 1 on Little Lake Rd at the light right across the highway from Mendocino. Follow this road a few miles inland until it turns to dirt/gravel. Go right downhill ~3 mi to get to Mendocino Woodlands State Park for the southern trail head or stay left on road 408 for the northern trailhead.

If you prefer to save the downhill for the end as I do, then drive down to the Woodlands. There are a few parking areas along the one-way loop road through the park. If you don't mind to climb out at the end of your ride, then the shorter drive is to stay on Road 408 and park at the north trailhead.

Customer Service

You can ride up or down either one, but I prefer up Cookhouse and down Manly, the slightly longer, smoother and more winding trail, and a better fast downhill.

Starting from the bottom, Cookhouse is the trail to the opposite the hairpin turn in the fire road around a pond. It's to the right of an 'Employees Only' access road and isn't well marked. About a quarter-mile or less into the trail, stay left at the one intersection and begin your climb.

Once you hit the top, the trail winds for a mile or so, just keep going straight. One intersection with a trail to the right leads to the observation point and Forest History Trail. And one intersection with a trail to the left leads to the Road 408 trailhead.

Keep following the trail east until you begin your descent. This is Manly. There's one break in the trail about 2/3s of the way down, but the two sides rejoin in a couple tenths - take either one. At the bottom of the singletrack you'll hit a flat fire road. Go right about a mile and you're back at your car.

FYI - don't waste your time with the Observation Point. The view's not that great.

Similar Products Used: Ride Van Damme State Park down from the airport/pygmy forest to the ocean. Wide double-track/fire road, and a FAST, smooth downhill that's not at all technical. You can ride up Little River Airport Road to get back to where you parked (or to start your ride if you park at the ocean side). More of a cardio ride than a technical ride in any way.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
2xr   Cross Country Rider [Aug 17, 2008]

Great Ride if you are on vacation in the Mendocino/Ft Bragg area. Dense forest and nice clingy soil. Not technical, but the overall experience makes the drive and climb out well worth the effort.

Customer Service

There are a couple routes, when pieced together, make an excellent loop. As the others recommened, stop at Catch a Canoe off Hwy 1 just before the bridge on your way into Mendocino and pick up an "unofficial" map of the terrain.I pieced together Manly Gulch to Forest History Trail. The fog and forest were very dense, extremely low light and contrast, I made the mistake of using the amber lense, recommend the clear. Also, take your time on the route, very easy to get lost. The only caveat to this ride is for first time visitors will have to stop periodically and pull out the map. This also gives you a chance to stop and enjoy the scenery. This place is unbelievably quiet, the cool mist is refreshing and with all the ferns, redwoods, and flowers there are some amazing smells....I saw no one the whole time I was there. Although I started on the trail at 7:00AM.

Also, give the guys at Ft Bragg Cyclery a call, they do weekly rides through here every Sunday at 10:00AM. I was unable to go as I was leaving the same day. They do quiz you on your fitness and skills, they are picky on who they let tag along ;-)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
ricorides   Weekend Warrior [Jul 31, 2007]

Killer piece of single track in dense redwood and oak forests. Neighbor trail, Manly Gulch is super fun, twisty 1 track, fast but not too fast.

Customer Service

The route I did we parked at the top of Cookhouse/Forest History Trail. About a half mile down is the turn for Manly Gulch, rest on road 730, then a tough climb up Cookhouse. There are a few trails here, you could make any loop out of 'em. I would say down Manly is the best down trail, then up Cookhouse. Going down Cookhouse might have a high pucker factor, as a fall on the downslope side would be seriously bad news. And, if you've got buddies, do rock, paper, scissor to see who has to drive to the bottom and pick you up, do the downhill again!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
maphead   Weekend Warrior [May 05, 2005]

Single track. Not too technical, but really, really beautiful. Great little vacation workout that won't take you all day.

Customer Service

We started at the top, but I think starting at the bottom would be nice. I like to climb and then be rewarded with the down hill. I think the Manly Gulch (staying left at the fork near the top) is the better down hill.

Similar Products Used: Go to Catch a Canoe and Bicylces too. The guy there (Dave I think) is really cool and he knows where the goods are. They have parts and service there too. Cool little shop.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
spun monkey   Weekend Warrior [Aug 30, 2003]

This is a great trail and is magical when the fog is sitting low in the redwoods. Just imagine a trial through the ewok forest in Return of the Jedi. This trail has everything from wicked offcamber switcbachs, sketchy wooden bridges and planks over streams, stairs and a really fun climb.

Customer Service

There are actually two downhill routes and since the trail is not very long I like to ride both of them. I recomend getting a map from Catch a Canoe in Mendocino before trying to locate the trail head because there are a few splits in the road and it is easy to get lost. Park at the top of the trail head and the trail follows the ridgeline down about a few hundred yards to the first left which is really easy to miss. You will know you have passed it if you come to a climb sweeping to the left with a trail at its base going down to the right which is the top of the return climb. If you don't miss the trail you are in for some great dowhill single track until you get to the abandoned logging road near the bottom. Hear you will come across a sign warning about mountain lions. Follow this road until you reach the main road at the bottom and take a right. Follow the main road down for about half a mile and you will see the trail entrance for the return climb. After climbing for about a quarter of a mile there is a split, take the trail to the left and climb up to the intersection mentioned earlier. This time, go up the climb that sweeps to the left for some more downhill.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
Brian W   [Sep 28, 2001]

This is a really nice ride. Singletrack the whole way except on rte 730. Not technical. The map from catch a canoe recommends that you park on road 408. This starts you out with a ~20 min downhill and then a bitch of an uphill. You might be better off parking at the cabins near the intersection of forest history trail and rte 730 and then ending with a great downhill.

We parked at the top and took the first right hand turn off of cook house gulch and found our way down to 730. You can also go up/down on Forest History Trail. Added bonus: playing a little b-ball at the mendocino cabins on 730 & exploring the cabins (if no one's around).

Customer Service

up Manly gulch from road 730 to cook house gulch and back down.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Bill   [Jul 09, 2003]

The gulch itself is fun, not very technical, but narrow in places. You'll have to lean your bike once in a while to get the handlebars around some trees. Still, a nice woody ride.

Customer Service

We rode inland from Russian Gulch, ~7 miles with a few climbs, rode down Cook House Gulch, then out 730 and 720 back to Mendocino. A long ride with the only single track being the gulch. Might be better to park at Mendicino Woodlands and go from there.

Similar Products Used: Haven't ridden any others. Yet. Will next year.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-6 of 6  

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