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California State Parks

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USA Parks
Northern California Region
Jackson State Forest
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Jackson State Forest © Thewellman / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Former Caspar Lumber Company structure at Camp 20 adjacent to California highway 20 in Mendocino County.
Jackson State Forest © Missvain / CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Jackson Demonstration Forest Sign, Fort Bragg, California
Jackson State Forest © Thewellman / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Caspar Lumber Company Willamette Steam Donkey on display at Camp 20 adjacent to California highway 20 in Mendocino County
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Jackson is the largest of CAL FIRE's eight demonstration state forests. Located in the middle of California's coastal redwood region, on the western edge of Mendocino County at Fort Bragg. The area has a long history of industrial logging activity, which began in 1862 and continued under private ownership until the State's purchase of the property in 1947. Today, more forest growth occurs each year than is harvested. The most common tree on the forest is coast redwood, but visitors will also find Douglas fir, grand fir, hemlock, bishop pine, tanoak, alder, madrone and bay myrtle.

Three demonstration trails have been developed with trail guides to inform visitors about the ecology, history and management of the redwood forest. There are also numerous hiking trails situated in historically and ecologically interesting settings, such as the Waterfall Grove Trail and the Forest History Trail. Recreational activities include camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding, swimming and picnicking. Maps of the forest can be purchased at our office in Fort Bragg.

Seasonal camping is offered mid-May through September, weather dependent. There are two main overnight camping areas with a number of campsites, including equestrian camps. Camping is within designated campsites only i.e., dispersed camping is not allowed. Camping fees are collected at self-registration stations located in the campgrounds. Camping fees will be used to support the recreation program including costs associated with maintenance and improvement of campgrounds and facilities, signage, roads, trails, etc. Campsites have picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets. Campers may collect dead wood lying on the ground for use within their campfire rings. There is no water at the campsites or day use areas. Pets are allowed but must be on a leash.

Hunting is allowed in season. No fishing is allowed per CA Department of Fish and Wildlife rules. Permits are required for firewood cutting and mushroom harvesting. Contact our office 707 964-5674 for questions related to recreation events requiring Special Use Permits such as organized bike and equestrian rides and races.
History of the Area
Jackson State Forest is a forested area located in Mendocino County, California. The forest has a rich history that dates back to the mid-19th century.

In the mid-1800s, the land now known as Jackson State Forest was acquired by Henry Franklin Jackson, an entrepreneur from Maine. Jackson was one of the first to recognize the region's potential for timber industry development. He originally intended to establish a lucrative logging operation on the land, but his plans were partially impeded by the steep slopes and rugged terrain.

By the late 1800s, Jackson had sold parts of the land to the Union Lumber Company, which was the largest lumber company in the Mendocino County at that time. The company began extensive logging operations in the area, constructing railroads to access and transport the timber. The extraction of redwood trees, in particular, played a significant role in the economy of the region during this period.

However, concerns about the depletion of the region's forests grew with time. By the early 20th century, conservation efforts began to take shape. Green Diamond Resource Company, formerly known as the California Redwood Company, was one of the organizations involved in these efforts. They acquired a substantial portion of the land in the 1940s and practiced sustainable forestry.

In 1949, a significant portion of the Jackson forest, consisting of around 48,700 acres, was purchased by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), establishing the Jackson State Forest. This acquisition aimed to protect the remaining redwood and Douglas fir stands and to promote sustainable timber management practices.

In the following decades, Jackson State Forest has been managed by CAL FIRE, focusing on a sustainable approach to logging and timber harvesting. The forest is also used for various recreational activities, including hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, and hunting.

Jackson State Forest remains an important resource for timber production, while concurrently serving as a recreational area. It continues to play a vital role in the local economy, providing employment opportunities and valuable timber products, while conserving and protecting the natural environment.
1. Camp One Campground: This campground is located on the South Fork of the Noyo River and offers 15 campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets.

2. Woodlands Group Campsite: A group campsite that can accommodate up to 50 people at a time; it's perfect for large gatherings or events.

3. Big River Haul Road Camping Area: It provides primitive camping options along Big River in Jackson State Forest where you may set up your tent anywhere within this area as long as it does not impact sensitive resources such as streams or wildlife habitat areas.

4. Chamberlain Creek Waterfall Trailhead Primitive Camping Site: Located near Fort Bragg, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated moderate difficulty level trail offering number of activity options including hiking & bird watching etc.,.

5. Horse Mountain Creek Dispersed Camping Sites: These are free dispersed sites scattered throughout Horse mountain creek region inside forest which provide rustic experience without amenities like water supply, restrooms etc but offer solitude amidst nature.

6. Jackson Demonstration State Forest Headquarters Tenting Grounds:.
Located right next to headquarters building these grounds allow setting tents overnight providing easy access to trails starting from here.

7. Mendocino Woodland Outdoor Center Cabins/Campgrounds:.
Though technically outside state forest boundary yet very close by they have cabins accommodating upto eight persons each besides having three separate campgrounds named Redwood,Creekside& Meadowood catering different needs/preferences .

8. Van Damme Beach Frontage Park: Just south-east edge bordering JDSF has beach front park allowing RV/tent camping overlooking Pacific ocean while being surrounded by lush greenery around making unique combination rarely found elsewhere!
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1. Howard Creek Redwoods State Park: Located in the southern part of Jackson State Forest, this park offers picnic areas among towering redwoods. Enjoy a peaceful and shaded spot for your picnic and take in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding nature.

2. Jabberwocky Meadow: This picturesque meadow located within Jackson State Forest offers a serene setting for a picnic. Spread out a blanket and enjoy the open space while taking in the sounds of the nearby babbling creek.

3. Sauganash Creek Picnic Area: This picnic area offers tables and fire pits, making it a great spot for a cookout or BBQ. Situated near the creek, you can enjoy the soothing sounds of the water while enjoying your meal.

4. Kidd Creek Picnic Area: Located on the eastern side of Jackson State Forest, this picnic area provides a peaceful setting surrounded by tall trees. Enjoy a picnic amidst nature and take advantage of the nearby hiking trails for a post-meal adventure.

5. Jackson Demonstration State Forest - Camp 20 Picnic Area: This picnic area is located near the old logging camp known as Camp 20. You can explore the historic logging artifacts before settling down for a picnic. The area offers picnic tables, restrooms, and a stunning forest setting.

6. Pine Mountain Picnic Area: Situated on Pine Mountain Road, this picnic area offers scenic views of the surrounding forests. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy your meal while taking in the panoramic vistas of the rolling hills and majestic redwoods.

7. Big River Picnic Area: Located just outside the Jackson State Forest boundary, but still easily accessible, this picnic area is nestled along the beautiful Big River. Enjoy your meal while watching the river flow by or take a dip in the water to cool off on a hot day.

Remember to always pack out what you pack in and leave no trace behind to help preserve the natural beauty of Jackson State Forest for others to enjoy.
1. Chamberlain Creek Waterfall Trail: This 2-mile round trip trail leads to a beautiful waterfall within the forest, offering stunning views of lush greenery and wildlife along the way.

2. Forest History Trail: A short but informative hike that is about half a mile long, this trail provides information on forestry practices in Jackson State Forest through interpretive signs placed throughout its length.

3. Woodlands Nature Watch Interpretive Loop: An easy one-mile loop perfect for families with children or those looking for an accessible walk amidst nature; it features various plant species native to California's forests.

4. The Pygmy Forest Discovery Trail: It's less than two miles long and offers hikers unique insights into some rare dwarfed trees found only in certain parts of Northern California due to specific soil conditions present there.

5. Big River Haul Road Bike Path & Walking Trails: These trails stretch over ten miles alongside Big River providing scenic vistas as well as opportunities for bird watching and spotting other local fauna like deer or foxes.

6. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens: Although not directly inside Jackson State Park itself, these gardens are nearby featuring several walking paths amongst beautifully maintained flora from around the world including rhododendrons, ferns etc., which bloom at different times during year creating ever:changing scenery.

7. Caspar Logging Roads: Once used by loggers transporting timber out of forest now serve as extensive network hiking/biking routes varying difficulty levels ranging from gentle slopes steep inclines challenging even experienced adventurers.

8. Jughandle Reserve Ecological Staircase: Another neighboring attraction close proximity park five terraces formed successive ice ages each hosting distinct ecosystem starting prairie lands moving up pygmy cypress pine finally culminating old growth redwood grove.

9. Russian Gulch Bridge Loop: Approximately seven:miles-long moderately difficult trek taking you across Russian Gulch creek via wooden bridge before looping back around through dense woodland.

10. Van Damme Fern Canyon Scenic Trail: A 2:mile trail that takes you deep into a lush canyon filled with ferns and other undergrowth, ending at the Pygmy Forest where trees are stunted due to nutrient-poor soils.

11. Navarro Point Preserve Thelma's Flower Walk: This easy one mile loop offers stunning coastal views along cliffs overlooking Pacific Ocean while also showcasing variety wildflowers bloom throughout year depending season.

12. Pomo Bluffs Park in Fort Bragg: Although not directly inside Jackson State Forest this nearby park provides short walking trails offering panoramic ocean vistas perfect for sunset viewing or whale watching during migration seasons.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
July 13 Great place to hike by Alex
park review stars; one to five I have visited this forest and wrote about it here:
June 27 take out what you bring in by sculpture guy
park review stars; one to five an open place to hike and explore...
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Area Campgrounds
Vagabond Village
32850 Mill Creek Drive
Fort Bragg, CA
Caspar Beach RV Park Campground
14441 Point Cabrillo Drive
Mendocino, CA
Willits-Ukiah KOA
1600 Highway 20
Willits, CA
Dolphin Isle Marina
32399 Basin Street
Ft. Bragg, CA
Albion River Campground
34500 Highway 1
Albion, CA
Ft Bragg Leisure Time RV Park
30801 Highway 20
Fort Bragg, CA
Pomo RV Park & Campground
17999 Tregoning Lane
Fort Bragg, CA
Sportsman's RV Park
32094 N. Harbor Drive
Fort Bragg, CA

Jackson State Forest is located in Mendocino County, California. To reach the forest from San Francisco, start by taking US-101 North towards Willits. Continue on this highway for approximately 100 miles until you reach the town of Ukiah.

In Ukiah, take exit 548B to merge onto CA-20 West towards Fort Bragg. Stay on CA-20 West for about 12 miles before turning left onto Road Bypass/State Hwy 253 N (also known as Old River Rd). Follow this road for around 8 miles and then turn right onto Orr Springs Road.

Continue driving along Orr Springs Road for approximately another mile until you see signs indicating Jackson State Forest entrance on your left-hand side. Turn into the forest's main access point and follow any additional signage or directions provided within the park to explore its various trails and attractions.

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California State Parks