Eighteen national forests encompassing 20 million acres of land are found in the Golden State. In Northern California, national forests blanket the spine of the Sierra, the crest of the Cascades and much of the far north. Forests most accessible to the Bay Area and Sacramento are listed below. To explore the highlights, click on the “special places” or “recreation” tabs found on each forest home page. To reserve your place under the stars, visit Recreation.gov
The 667,000-acre Eldorado National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada covers portions of Alpine, Amador, El Dorado and Placer counties. Special places include the popular (and dog-friendly) Desolation and Mokelumne wilderness areas.
Photo: "On The Trail" - Janet Fullwood
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, totaling more than 150,000 acres around Lake Tahoe, includes beaches, hiking and biking trails, wilderness, historic estates and developed recreation areas. Rules regarding dogs vary in developed areas.
The Mendocino National Forest embraces 913,300 acres of mountains, lakes and canyons just a three-hour drive north of San Francisco and Sacramento.