Lake Mendocino, California, USA

With the gateway to the redwoods on one side and California’s wine country on the other, Lake Mendocino is an extraordinary vacation destination. The lake offers year-round camping, hiking, and fishing, but the lake is most popular in the summer. The quiet spring, fall, and winter seasons offer a pace to suit everyone. Lake Mendocino is an impoundment of the Russian River created by the Coyote Valley Dam. The earthen – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Mendocino! Article topics include:

Looking for Lake Mendocino cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Mendocino! Article topics include:

Looking for Lake Mendocino cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Mendocino

Lake Locations: USA - West - California - North Coast -

With the gateway to the redwoods on one side and California’s wine country on the other, Lake Mendocino is an extraordinary vacation destination. The lake offers year-round camping, hiking, and fishing, but the lake is most popular in the summer. The quiet spring, fall, and winter seasons offer a pace to suit everyone.

Lake Mendocino is an impoundment of the Russian River created by the Coyote Valley Dam. The earthen dam, built in 1958 across the east fork of the Russian River, flooded the Coyote Valley resulting in the relocation of some residents as well as part of State Route 20. The lake is owned and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is used for flood control, water conservation, and hydroelectric power in addition to recreation. Water levels in Lake Mendocino fluctuate based on the amount of winter precipitation and Russian River inflows, so check current lake levels before your visit.

Lake Mendocino is home to healthy populations of largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass, along with black and white crappie. There are also bluegill, redear sunfish, tule perch, and white and channel catfish. Anglers can fish for trout in nearby rivers.

The California Department of Fish and Game runs the Coyote Valley Dam Steelhead Egg Collection Facility at the dam. Visitors to Lake Mendocino can watch the biologists collect the trout eggs, but they don’t hatch on site. The eggs are fertilized then sent to hatch at nearby Lake Sonoma. The yearling fish come back to Lake Mendocino and after spending around 30 days in one of the eight race ways, they are released into the Russian River. Three to five years later the trout return to spawn. The Collection Facility is open from December through April. The Bill Townsend Fish Hatchery is also open for tours. The hatchery is run by the Ukiah Rod and Gun Club, and they hatch 50,000 steelhead trout each year.

Lake Mendocino has several boat launches, and waterskiing is a popular watersport. The northwest shore has a designated swimming beach, but swimming is allowed almost everywhere in the lake. There are some boat-in only waterside campsites at Miti Campground. Kyen Campground also has waterside campsites, but they are the most popular at Lake Mendocino and require reservations. There are over 300 campsites in four campgrounds as well as several covered picnic pavilions. The lake has around fifteen miles of hiking trails including some for bikes and horses. The campgrounds, trails and pavilion are named with Pomo Indian words.

The Pomo Indians were the area’s original native people. The Pomo Cultural Center, on the north end of Lake Mendocino, has an outdoor amphitheatre and is modeled after a traditional Pomo roundhouse. The Center, opened in the early 1980’s, is operated by the Coyote Band of Pomos and the US Army Corps of Engineers and has exhibits of Pomo dancing, money, basket making, and hunting.

Wildlife is prevalent in Lake Mendocino’s 700 acre wilderness area. There are bobcats, black bear and even cougars or mountain lions in the wildlife management area on the east side of the lake. The California Department of Fish and Game allows shotgun hunting for small game and migratory and game birds including ducks, doves and quail. There are both spring and fall wild turkey hunts.

Lake Mendocino is about five miles from Ukiah in Mendocino County. Originally the Pomo Indians called themselves Yokaya meaning “people of the south or deep valley.” The name was changed by the Europeans to Ukiah. Ukiah has restaurants, museums, and a variety of accommodations and amenities for visitors to Lake Mendocino. The lake is about two hours north of the Bay area and 120 miles from San Francisco.

Tucked in the foothills of the Northern Coastal Range, surrounded by wine country and redwoods, Lake Mendocino is a fantastic retreat for the entire family.

Things to Do at Lake Mendocino

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish Species Found at Lake Mendocino

  • Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Steelhead Trout
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • White Crappie

All About Lake Mendocino

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Mendocino

The Lake Mendocino map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Lake Mendocino Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Lake Mendocino Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Lake Mendocino Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Mendocino Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Mendocino lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 1,822 acres

Shoreline Length: 15 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 762 feet

Maximum Depth: 133 feet

Water Volume: 89,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1958

Water Residence Time: 57 days

Drainage Area: 105 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Lake Mendocino news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Lake Mendocino forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Lake Mendocino photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Lake Mendocino article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Lake Mendocino? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Lake Mendocino forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Lake Mendocino vacation rental or local business.

The former Lake Mendocino forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Lake Mendocino photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Lake Mendocino article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Lake Mendocino vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Lake Mendocino forum group? Click Here

New Lake Mendocino photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi