HWY. 162 / COVELO RD.
Mendocino CountyDate reviewed - 8/05
Fun . . . . . . . . 4
Difficulty . . . . .Medium
Traffic . . . . . . Light to Medium
Driveways . . . .None
Condition . . . . Good
Length . . . . . .30 miles
This road is a lot more fun than I expected it to be, although it was a welcome relief after Mt. Zenia / Mina Rd. to the north. There are also some great roads to the west and south (see map at right) that you can try while you are in the area. The main problem with Hwy. 162 is that it doesn't really go anywhere. If you are coming south on Mina Rd. (assuming you like dirt) then it's fine but if you prefer to stick to pavement you can only take 162 north and then turn back around. Mendocino Pass Rd. heads east and eventually meets Hwy. 162 and the 5. Mendocino Pass looks great on paper but it was dirt the last time I checked, if it has been paved it would make a great road.
Heading south out of the mountains on Mina Rd. the dirt turns to pavement and you find yourself on 162, which starts by running straight south for 5 miles and passes through the town of Covelo. And while there isn't much else out here, Covelo isn't exactly a tourist attraction. After 5 miles, however, Hwy. 162 is anything but straight as it winds its way up and then back down a range of hills.
After about 10 miles of switchbacks you come to the intersection of Laytonville Dos Rios Rd. (cyan on map). This road will take you over to the 101 where it intersects with Branscomb Rd. Also nearby is Sherwood Rd. which I have not had the chance to check out but looks promising on the map.
If you stay on Hwy. 162 headed south the road levels out and follows the river for about 12 miles. It was this section of the road that actually sold me, it doesn't look like a lot on the map but the way the road is layed out gives you good sightlines, high speed sweepers, and just enough elevation change to keep things interesting but without really taxing you our your vehicle. After a day spent on narrow, winding, single lane roads this high speed section was a lot of fun.
Eventually you head back into the hills and down towards the 101. If you are headed south watch out for the signs warning of a RR-Xing; just past the tracks is a sharp left-hand turn and a stop for the 101 intersection.- Back to Region
Red: Highway 162.
Blue: Mina Rd. (dirt)
Cyan: Laytonville Dos Rios Rd.
Purple: Mendocino Pass Rd. (dirt?)
Yellow: Branscomb Rd.
Green: Sherwood Rd.
Dropping down off the plateau (red), and running along the river (blue).
Bird's eye of dropping down from the plateau.
Aerial view of the river section, Laytonville Dos Rios Rd. in cyan.