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Baechtel Creek Inn & Spa
101 Gregory Lane
Willits, CA, United States
(707) 459-9063 | 800-459-9911
707-459-0226

Leisure & Activities

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Mendocino County is one of the most picturesque areas in the state of California. Its terrain includes breathtaking coastline, rolling, vineyard covered hills, redwood forests and rugged mountains. There is so much to see and do and below we have listed some area attractions that you can link to. We would love to assist you in making plans, so please do not hesitate to ask us!

Redwoods & Hiking

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Willits is so proud of its title, "Gateway to the Redwoods," it had it emblazoned on the arch in the middle of town. For much of Willits' past, redwood lumber was the economic engine powering the region. Now much of the Willits' economy relies on visitors to the redwood forests to the north and west.

Willits is on the front steps of a wilderness experience for travelers willing to leave the paved world. Dirt and gravel roads are still the norm for many of the outlaying areas. Minutes afte leaving the streets of Willits, visitors can step into a region seemingly little changed in the past 100 years.

Those desiring a quick picnic in the redwoods or an easy stroll can visit the Ohl Grove in Brooktrails, about three miles northwest of Willits at the corner of Birch Street and Clover Road. One can also walk along Willits Creek among the redwoods on the Brooktrails Golf Course.

Jackson Demonstration State Forest contains the largest state forest, some 50,000 acres of the Big River and Noyo River watersheds. Coastal fog is a frequent visitor to the region during all seasons. The cool mfog and coastal influence promote the growth of redwoods and Douglas fir.

The forest, located on Hwy 20 west of Willits, is intended to be a working forest; its primary goal is to demonstrate sustainable timber production while maintaining soil, water, scenic, wildlife and recreational values. This state forest has campgrounds and nearly 1,000 miles of roads and trails. One easy day trip is the trail to 50-foot tall Chamberlain Falls. For more information: www.willitsnews.com/discoverwillits

We have discovered some of the most amazing hiking trails right here in Willits! Trails such as Fawn Lily, Thimbleberry, Last Chance . . . are located in an area called Brooktrails and they were once old logging roads that are now converted into hiking trails. Let us pack you a light snack and some bottled water and give you a map and you’re on your way . . . for an hour, or a few, or all day; it simply depends how far you want to go.

There are also many other trails for hiking and dirt bike riding in our County. We would be happy to supply you with information for other trails in the county. Check out our Hiking Package!

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Skunk Train - Ridin' the rails
The glamour of old-fashioned railcars dwarfed by majestic redwoods draws tens of thousands of people to Willits each year to ride the world-famous Skunk Train.

Willits is a great place to board the Skunk Train, a special type of time machine. Those riding these rails will experience the squeal of wheels through a narrow pitch-black tunnel before a winding descent down to the Noyo River in a wilderness mostly untouched by modern distractions. The railroad is celebrating its 127th year in operation. The Willits depot, located at 299 East Commercial Street, was built in 1915, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The depot is considered the finest known expression of Craftsman-style railroad architecture in California. The depot is also the home of the Willits Chamber of Commerce.

The Railroad begin in 1885, transporting redwood logs from inland groves to sawmills on the coast. Much of the 40-mile route between Fort Bragg and Willits is built on an even older logging road at only a few hundred feet above sea level. As the train gets within 12 miles of Willits the scene changes dramatically; the track doubles back on itself, entering a series of sharp and twisting turns as it climbs to about 1,800 feet in elevation to cross the Coastal Range, then travels through a 791 -foot-long narrow tunnel before dropping down into Little Lake Valley.

The railroad received the Skunk Train name in the 1920s. when it began using old-style gas-powered railcars that old-timers claimed could be smelled long before they could be seen. While those cars are no longer in service, the railroad has happily embraced the name. Kids in particular seem to get a kick out of riding on the Skunk Train. www.skunktrain.com

 

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Mendocino County Museum
A true jewel of a museum – The Mendocino County Museum located at 400 East Commercial Street in Willits collects, conserves and celebrates the stories, artifacts, archives and lives of the people and places of Mendocino County. The museum has a community focus with well-loved displays telling the story of racehorse legend Seabiscuit; a mysterious and forgotten 1850 shipwreck; and memorials to county residents who gave their lives in battle. The museum also has a committment to preserving and celebrating living history. A must see!

The museum is partners and neighbors with Roots of Motive Power. For almost 30 years an enthusiastic group of Roots volunteers have been busy collecting and preserving the North Coast's rail heritage for future generations; creating, maintaining and operating a working steam museum of vintage railroad and logging equipment. At select times of year, the Roots crew invites the public to join them as they stoke the fires and operate their vast array of vintage equipment. During these steam-ups, visitors can marvel at an operating five-story 750-ton steam shovel, scooping dirt and creating piles that dwarf the operators; a chrome-plated, wood-fired steam roller, or a "donkey-engine" once used in the deep woods to move logs before the start of the last century. www.rootsofmotivepower.com

Ridgewood Ranch

The home of the "Little horse that could" draws thousands of visitors each year. Ridgewood Ranch, off Highway 101 about seven miles south of Willits, was the home and final resting place of the great racing legend, Seabiscuit.

Seabiscuit inspired generations as the small bay horse rose from obscurity and fought through adversity to triumph over racing's East Coast royalty. The spunky racehorse gave America hope and inspiration during the darkest days of the Great Depression. Visitors can tour the working ranch Seabiscuit called home and experience the spine-tingling excitement of watching his head-to-head triumph over War Admiral in the race known as the "match of the century." Seabiscuits descendants, affectionately dubbed Lil' Biscuits, are being reared at the ranch and can typically be seen around the ranch during a tour.

Tour details are available at www.seabiscuitheritage.org 707 459-5992.

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Willits Frontier Days
For 87 years, the preier celebration in Willits has been Frontier Days, featuring several weeks of themed activity wrapping up on July 4 with an Independence Day parade, BBQ and rodeo. The festival has something for all ages, from the excitement of professional bull riders matching skills against the meanest and toughest bulls to a youngster entering his first junior rodeo competition. There are free dances, a carnival with rides and an arcade, a free parade, an old-fashioned BBQ and even free gunfights-where the good guys always win. There are heart-pounding high-horsepower truck pulls featuring everything from colorful high-octane professional rigs to local cowboys and cowgirls showing off their souped-up trucks. www.willitsfrontierdays.com

 

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Mendocino County Wines
Mendocino County has more than 150 years of winemaking history. Many wineries within a short drive from Willits are open daily for tasting; others open their doors during festivals or by appointment. Most are off the beaten path and require a little navigation to enjoy properly. Many of the wineries are at the front edge of "green" and organic winemaking. Nearly all the wineries participate in Mendocino-county wide events, such as Mendocino Mushroom, Wine & Beer, Mendocino Crab and Wine and a Taste of Redwood Valley. www.mendocinowine.com

 

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 Brooktrails Golf Course
This nine-hole gem is located in Willits among the Redwoods is not only beautiful, but challenging.
The 9-hole "Brooktrails" course at the Brooktrails Golf Course facility in Willits, California features 1,279 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 28 . The course rating is 28.9 and it has a slope rating of 95. Designed by Robert Muir Graves, ASGCA, the Brooktrails golf course opened in 1962.

 

Willits Center for the Arts
The WCA was created to nurture and showcase the art that makes Northern California a creative, cultural epicenter, and features ad new show every month.
www.willitscenterforthearts.org/

Willits Community Theater
There is nothing like live theater – actors up close, the sound of footsteps across the stage, just the performers and the audience, with no second takes and very few special effects.
www.allaboutwct.org

Confusion Hill

Home of the World Famous Gravity House, Mountain Train Ride, World’s Largest Free Standing Redwood Chainsaw and is a fun place to visit.
www.confusionhill.com

Drive Thru Tree
The Chandlier Drive Thru Tree in Leggett was hollowed out in the 1930s. The tree itself stands 315 feet high and has a diameter of 21 feet.
www.drivethrutree.com

Montgomery Woods State Reserve
Get off the beaten path and away from the hectic life of the city at Montgomery Woods State Reserve – of California’s 31 redwood parks this is one of the most remote.
www.parks.ca.gov

Avenue of the Giants
This world-famous scenic drive is an alternate 31-mile portion of the original Hwy 101, which now parallels the new Hwy 101 with its 51,222 acres of magnificent redwood groves. Approx 1.5 hours North on Hwy 101

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