5 Things we would love you to discover about Willits!
Mendocino County Museum
A Trip trip to the Mendocino County Museum a must do!
Whenever our guests visit the Mendocino County Museum, which is located in Willits, they always come back raving about how they never expected such a great place in a small town! It is definitely one of the top must see in Willits.
The Mendocino County Museum at 400 East Commercial street 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 perserving and celebrating living history.
The Museum also has several events which it hosts and smaller venues throughout the year. Check out their website for more details.
Open Wednesday - Sunday 10:00 to 4:30
Seabiscuit - The little horse that could!
Seabiscuit- Ridgewood Ranch - The home of the legendary "little horse that could," draws thousands of visitors each year.
Ridgewood Ranch, off hwy 101 about 7 miles south of Willits, was the home and final resting place of the great racing legend, Seabiscuit.
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!"
Seabiscuit's descendants, affectionately dubbed Lil' Biscuits are being reared at the ranch and typically can be seen around the ranch during a tour.
Check out the with original film footage and memorabilia from Seabiscuit!
Tour details are available at www.seabiscuitheritage.org.
Skunk Train through the California Redwoods!
No trip to Mendocino County would be complete without a ride on the "Skunk" Train. The California Redwoods provide an awe-inspiring backdrop for this rolling piece of American history.
The Skunk line operates different trains to power your journey into the redwoods.
The train begins in Willits (also out of Fort Bragg) and nostalgia rings down the line in the sights, sounds and smells of trains moving through the wild. Take your seat; it is time to make new memories as you travel through the majestic redwood forests!
We offer Skunk Train packages, please go to our package page for more information!
Frontier Days - Oldest Continual Rodeo in State of CA!
Frontier Days for 87 years the premier celebration in Willits has been Frontier Days, featuring several weeks of themed activity wrapping up July 4th wth 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 youngsters entering his or her 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.
Frontier Days kicks off June 22-July 4th.
Roots of Motive Power - Preserving Rail Heritage!
Roots of Motive Power is partners and neighbors with the Mendocino County Museum. 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 each 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.
A Little Bit About Willits
The Willits Arch, located on Main Street near the City Center, heralds the town's role as "Gateway to the Redwoods."
Willits serves as the hub of Mendocino County, located within easy driving distance of redwood groves to the north and south, the North Coast and world renowned wineries.
We invite you to "Discover Willits" and the surrounding area. The region's diversity offers everything from unique wilderness and rural adventures to top-notch cultural treasures, cuisine, wines and brews.
Willits is a friendly little country town nestled at the western edge of the Little Lake Valley at 1,350 feet above sea level. Surrounded by the forested mountains of the coastal range Willits in centrally located in the heart of Mendocino Coounty at the juncture of Highways 101 and 20 West, approximately halfway between San Francisco and Eureka.
Willits has diverse cultural and educational amenities offered through the Mendocino County Museum, Willits Community Theater and the Willits Center for the Arts. A state-of-the-art teaching hospital with some of the best orthopedic doctors is right here!
We will always remember our roots, steeped in the traditions and solid values of our pioneer heritage. Willits Frontier Days celebrates our heritage every July 4th with California's oldest continuous rodeo in the state!
Willits tree-lined streets with its vintage Victorian and Craftsman-style homes transports visitors to the small-town ambience of yesteryear.
Much of Willits' architectural heritage dates back to its early years as a timber industry center with several buildings featured on the national historical registry.
Exploring the country roads around Willits can be a surprising and rewarding experience for drivers, bicylists and motorcylists.
Little Lake Valley is home to many horse, cattle and sheep ranches, some still owned by families of early settlers. In spring, colts, calves and lambs frolic in the fields, and in the early summer the scent of mown hay permeates the valley.
The northern half of the valley floods each winter, and by late spring blooms into a carpet of intense blue camas lilies.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of producing locally grown food. Several small local farms sell produce, cheese and meats to local restaurants and at the Willits Farmers Market.
To taste this rural lifestyle, one must leave Highway 101 and travel the country roads. Photographic opportunities abound along the rural byways, from ancient weathered barns somewhat hidded in early morning mist, to active cattle drives or newborn lambs frolicking in the spring grass.
Migratory birds have stopped in the Little Lake Valley for eons and can be viewed easily from the roadside. Hawks, cranes and egrets routinely patrol the area. Herds of deer and flocks of turkeys are common sights, sharing the grassy fields with livestock. A small group of elk have migrated back into the valley.
Biking around Little Lake Valley on country roads is also a good way to experience these bucolic sights. The country roads provide easy loop rides with only minor elevation changes. The pastoral route takes riders along fields of horses, sheep and cattle, with the occasional llama and goat thrown in.
Motorcyclists flock to rural Mendocino County back roads. There are great paved loops, whether along Highway 20 from Willits to the coast and returning to Willits by Branscomb Road, or south on Highway 101.
Highway 163, which curves along the Eel River to Covelo, offers bikers a chance to view beautiful vistas and ride challenging terrain. And even a quick dip into the Eel River!