Ukiah is both the county seat and the largest city of Northern California’s Mendocino County. This doesn’t exactly mean that it is a highly populated enclave. Only some 15,500 people live within the city limits, and while Ukiah is found along the Highway 101 corridor and serves as a major regional center, it maintains a rather small town appeal. The pleasant small town aspect is partly responsible for Ukiah being consistently ranked among the best places to live in the United States. The beauty of the surrounding area is also a major plus. Encircling the city are coastal mountain ranges, and such area lakes as Lake Mendocino and Clear Lake also lend to the scenic nature of the surrounding region.


Redwoods  Image: Hotash (flickr)

Northern California is largely associated with the towering redwoods and giant sequioas that populate the region in good number. As such, it only makes sense that Ukiah has an association with redwoods. Much of the city’s population was actually supported by the redwood lumber boom of the 1940's. Also reflecting the association that Ukiah CA has with redwood trees is a service station on the north side of town that is known as the World’s Largest Redwood Tree Service Station. You can find this service station/museum along Highway 101, and the tree that was selected to build the station came from the nearby Redwood Valley. Also worth noting for those Ukiah visitors who have an interest in redwood trees is the Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve. This reserve is approximately 13 miles west of town and has plenty of redwoods that visitors can admire while hiking along the park’s many trails.

Lake Mendocino & Clear Lake

Lake Mendocino & Clear Lake
Lake Mendocino & Clear Lake  Image: Dvortygirl (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

Just north of Ukiah CA lies Lake Mendocino. Formed in 1958 by the construction of the Coyote Dam, this sizeable reservoir helps to control flooding in Mendocino County and also aids in water conservation. Providing hydroelectric power and recreational opportunities are other roles that Lake Mendocino plays. Among the activities that can be enjoyed there are boating, fishing, water skiing, hiking, and camping. It is also possible to play disc golf or enjoy a picnic during a visit to Lake Mendocino. Another renowned lake that can be found near Ukiah is Clear Lake. This largest natural freshwater lake located entirely in California also offers numerous recreational activities, with examples including boating and fishing. Boat and other watercraft rentals are available in and around Clear Lake for those who are interested. Also worth noting are the state parks that can be found on the southern side of Clear Lake. These parks include Clear Lake State Park and Anderson Marsh State Historic Park.

Wineries & Vineyards

Wineries & Vineyards
Wineries & Vineyards

Among the things that Ukiah CA is known for is its wine production. Much like Sonoma and the Napa Valley to the south, the Ukiah area produces some of the world’s finest wines. Prestigious wineries and wine labels that are associated with Ukiah include Bonterra, Brutocao, Fife, Frey, and Parducci (pictured). Helping the area vintners maintain their admirable reputations are their organic and sustainable practices. Winery visits are understandably popular among Ukiah visitors, and it is definitely easy to find a good bottle to pair with your meal while spending time in the area. Coincidentally, the Ukiah Valley is home to two breweries for those who have an interest in beer. These breweries include the Mendocino Brewing Company and the Ukiah Brewing Company.

Ukiah Hotels

Ukiah Hotels
Ukiah Hotels

Ukiah has several chain-brand hotels that offer good rooms at a reasonable price. Examples include the Best Western PLUS Orchard Inn (pictured), the Hampton Inn Ukiah, and the Comfort Inn & Suites Ukiah. Cheaper motels such as the Quality Inn Ukiah and the Super 8 Ukiah are available for those who are looking to save on rates. If a bed and breakfast is what you seek instead, there are options there as well. The main example in this department is the five-unit Sanford House Inn, which dates back to 1904 and has plenty of historic charm. Also worth keeping in mind if you are looking to go the bed and breakfast route is the Shambhala Ranch. This country inn and retreat center can accommodate small groups with its bed and breakfast packages. It is also a great Ukiah lodging option for larger groups and can be a wonderful place to have a wedding.

No discussion about Ukiah lodging would be complete without mentioning the Vichy Hot Springs Resort. This 157-year-old retreat refers to itself as both a country inn and a hot springs resort. It offers both rooms and cottages, and among the things that are included in the rates are breakfasts and full use of the resort’s mineral baths, its hot soaking pool, and its Olympic size swimming pool. Guests of the Vichy Hot Springs Resort can also look to indulge in spa treatments and hiking excursions around the 700 private acres.

Top image: Allie_Caulfield (flickr)

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