Mendocino County

Date reviewed - 8/05
Fun . . . . . . . . 5
Difficulty . . . . .High
Traffic . . . . . . Noneto Light
Driveways . . . .None
Condition . . . . Poor to Good
Length . . . . . .25 miles

Branscomb Rd. follows the pattern of east-west cut across roads in this section of the State in that the County needs a road to connect the 1 and the 101 but can't really afford to build it properly. This is actually good news to those of us that love to drive because it creates an awesome road that is not attractive to the average driver.

Headed west out of Laytonville the first 2-1/2 miles run through town. After you get away from the houses and driveways you are rewarded to approximately 9 miles of well maintained road that reminded me of a State highway. Good pavement, warning signs for the corners, and nice wide lanes are a nice addition to several straights, sweeping high-speed corners, and the occasional s-curve. Once you see the big black and yellow 25mph s-curve signs, however, things change.

Immediately after those very tight s-curves the road gets very narrow, the pavement condition worsens, and the centerline disappears as you drive between some very large and old trees that were left for the construction crews to build around. It isn't much farther along that you come to a small town with a large wood mill. Watch out for logging trucks on this road, they really don't fit on the western section but they take it anyway, I passed to tractor-trailers on my way out to the coast.

After you pass through town the road narrows again and you loose the center striping for the rest of the drive. Most of the rest of the drive is through a canopy of overhanging trees with many tight, blind hairpins and the occasional "high-speed" sweeper. There are also plenty of places with rather severe drop-offs (no guardrails of course) and also gutters at the roadside you really don't want to get involved with. Eventually this drops you down to Highway 1 and the coast.

- Back to Region

Branscomb Rd. (red) is narrow and rough but a lot of fun. Laytonville Dos Rios Rd. (blue) ties in to Hwy. 162
The cyan portion is in great shape, the red not so much, green through developed area.
If you are headed west those hairpins can catch you out - look for the 25mph corner warning signs.
And that's just 1.5 miles out of a total 25.