The furbulous Cow Mountain Recreation Area is split up into three sections, namely North Cow Mountain, South Cow Mountain, and Sheldon Creek. Sheldon Creek is a small, isolated recreation spot for camping, hiking and fishing, while South Cow Mountain OHV Recreation Area is an oasis for off-road vehicles where trails abound, and isn't really the place for doggos to hang out. The North Cow Mountain Recreation Area is where its at for puptastic pup hiking in Ukiah!
With a network of trails, you and your pup will love North Cow Mountain! Located in the Mayacamas Mountains just east of Ukiah, this 26,000 acre area offers 30 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, 17 of which are purely foot trails. You can access the trailhead to the Valley View Trail off of Mill Creek Road, along the western border of the area.
The most pupular trail is the Glen Eden Trail, which happens to be the only way to get into the North Cow Recreation Area without a vehicle. You can find this trailhead on Scotts Valley Road, which runs along the eastern border of the area. Once you and your fur buddy hit this 8.5 mile trail, you will quickly see that this walk is going to be a good workout for you both, with an elevation of almost three thousand feet. Along the way, you will be hitting peaks and ridges where you can see amazing views of the mountain ranges and valleys spread out below you.
There are a few signs along the path where there are crossroads to other trails or scenic overlooks such as the Mayacmas Trail, Ukiah, and Willow Creek, but if you stay on the Glen Eden Trail, you will reach the peak about three hours in, depending on how fast you are walking.
You and your pup can make it an overnight adventure and camp at one of two campgrounds located here. The Mayacamas Campground offers vault toilets, trash cans, picnic tables and grills, and can be accessed by car. The Goat Rock Campground is smaller with only 2 sites available, features picnic tables and grills, and can only be accessed by horseback or hiking in. You can also camp in other areas throughout North Cow Mountain, so long as you are 300 yards from any water source. There's hunting and a rifle range available here too.
Whether for an afternoon or overnight, you'll need to pack for the adventure. Bring water to share with your pup, food, and clean-up bags, and be sure to stoop and scoop whenever necessary. Keep your dog on a leash, as you may encounter such wildlife as turkeys, deer, elk, and even some wild boars. When hiking, be aware that some of the trails pass through private lands. Signs should alert you, so be sure to stay on the trails in those areas.
For a truly wooftastic hike in the gorgeous Mayacamas Mountains, check out the North Cow Mountain Recreation Area with your pup!