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Mendocino County, California facts for kids

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Mendocino County, California
County of Mendocino
Mendocino California.jpg
The Sun House.jpg
Point Arena Lighthouse.jpg
Calif Western June 6th 2010 024xRP - Flickr - drewj1946.jpg
MacKerricher Beach.jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: The community of Mendocino, the historic Grace Hudson Sun House, Point Arena Lighthouse, the Chandelier Tree, the "Skunk Train", a beach in MacKerricher State Park
The county's official seal, in chief two redwood trees and the numbers '1850', a breaking wave on the Pacific Ocean and a vineyard set in relief, bordered by a dark brown circle with the words 'Mendocino County' appearing within the border in gold block letters
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(County seat)", "description": "World's Largest Redwood Tree Service Station (1936), angle, Route 101, Ukiah, California LOC 37143730483.jpg", "marker-symbol": "town-hall", "marker-size": "large", "marker-color": "#FF0000" }, "geometry": { "type": "Point", "coordinates": [-123.2086, 39.1489] } }, { "type": "Feature", "properties": { "title": "Willits", "description": "Willits California - panoramio.jpg", "marker-symbol": "town", "marker-size": "medium", "marker-color": "#FFE228" }, "geometry": { "type": "Point", "coordinates": [-123.3556, 39.4097] } }, { "type": "Feature", "properties": { "title": "Fort Bragg", "description": "Fort Bragg City Hall.JPG", "marker-symbol": "city", "marker-size": "medium", "marker-color": "#800080" }, "geometry": { "type": "Point", "coordinates": [-123.8044, 39.4457] } }, { "type": "Feature", "properties": { "title": "Point Arena", "description": "Main Street Historic Commercial District-8.jpg", "marker-symbol": "village", "marker-size": "small", "marker-color": "#0000FF" }, "geometry": { "type": "Point", "coordinates": [-123.691, 38.91] } }]</mapframe>
Interactive map of Mendocino County with markers for each of its four incorporated cities: Ukiah (red), Fort Bragg (purple), Point Arena (blue), and Willits (yellow)
Mendocino County's location within California
Mendocino County's location within California
Country United States
State California
Region California North Coast
Incorporated February 18, 1850; 174 years ago (1850-02-18)
Named for Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of New Spain, 1535–42
County seat Ukiah
Largest city Ukiah
 • Body Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
 • Total 3,878 sq mi (10,040 km2)
 • Land 3,506 sq mi (9,080 km2)
 • Water 372 sq mi (960 km2)
Highest elevation
6,958 ft (2,121 m)
 • Total 91,601
 • Density 26/sq mi (10/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area code 707

Mendocino County ( Mendocino, Spanish for "of Mendoza) is a county located on the North Coast of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 91,601. The county seat is Ukiah.

Mendocino County consists wholly of the Ukiah, CA Micropolitan Statistical Area (μSA) for the purposes of the U.S. Census Bureau. It is located approximately equidistant from the San Francisco Bay Area and California/Oregon border, separated from the Sacramento Valley to the east by the California Coast Ranges. While smaller areas of redwood forest are found further south, it is the southernmost California county to be included in the World Wildlife Fund's Pacific temperate rainforests ecoregion, the largest temperate rainforest ecoregion on the planet.

The county is noted for its distinctive Pacific Ocean coastline, its location along California's "Lost Coast", Redwood forests, wine production, microbrews.

The notable historic and recreational attraction of the "Skunk Train" connects Fort Bragg with Willits in Mendocino County via a steam-locomotive engine, along with other vehicles.

Mendocino is one of three Northern California counties to make up the "Emerald Triangle", along with Humboldt and Trinity counties.


Mendocino County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. Due to an initially minor white American population, it did not have a separate government until 1859 and was under the administration of Sonoma County prior to that. Some of the county's land was given to Sonoma County between 1850 and 1860.

The county derives its name from Cape Mendocino (most of which is actually located in adjacent Humboldt County), which was probably named in honor of either Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of New Spain, 1535–1542 (who sent the Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo Expedition to this coast in 1542), or Lorenzo Suárez de Mendoza, Viceroy from 1580 to 1583. Mendocino is the adjectival form of the family name of Mendoza.

Neither Spanish nor Mexican influence extended into Mendocino County beyond establishing two Mexican land grants in southern Mendocino County: Rancho Sanel in Hopland, in 1844 and Rancho Yokaya that forms the majority of the Ukiah Valley, in 1845.

In the 19th century, despite the establishment of the Mendocino Indian Reservation and Nome Cult Farm in 1856, the county witnessed many of the most serious atrocities in the extermination of the Californian Native American tribes who originally lived in the area, like the Yuki, the Pomo, the Cahto, and the Wintun. The systematic occupation of their lands, the reduction of many of their members into slavery and the raids against their settlements led to the Mendocino War in 1859, where hundreds of Indians were killed. Establishment of the Round Valley Indian Reservation in March 30, 1870, did not prevent the segregation that continued well into the 20th century. Other tribes from the Sierra Nevada mountains were also located to the Round Valley Indian Reservation during the "California Trail Of Tears", where the Natives were forced to march in bad conditions to their new home in Round Valley. Many of these tribes thrown together were not friends with the other tribes they were forced to live with on the reservation, resulting in tensions still evident today.


Mendocino vineyard
A vineyard in Mendocino County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,878 square miles (10,040 km2), of which 3,506 square miles (9,080 km2) is land and 372 square miles (960 km2) (9.6%) is water.


Fort Bragg California aerial view
Aerial view of the mouth of the Noyo River on the Pacific Ocean at Fort Bragg


A beach near Elk
  • Big River Beach
  • Caspar Headlands State Beach
  • Van Damme Beach
  • Greenwood State Beach
  • Seaside Beach
  • Westport-Union Landing State Beach
  • Manchester State Beach
  • Navarro Beach
  • Portuguese Beach
  • Schooner Gulch State Beach
  • Long Valley Creek
  • 10 Mile Creek
  • Glass Beach

National and state protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 55
1860 3,967 7,112.7%
1870 7,545 90.2%
1880 12,800 69.6%
1890 17,612 37.6%
1900 20,465 16.2%
1910 23,929 16.9%
1920 24,116 0.8%
1930 23,505 −2.5%
1940 27,864 18.5%
1950 40,854 46.6%
1960 51,059 25.0%
1970 51,101 0.1%
1980 66,738 30.6%
1990 80,345 20.4%
2000 86,265 7.4%
2010 87,841 1.8%
2020 91,601 4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010 2020

2020 census

Mendocino County, California - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 60,249 56,205 68.59% 61.36%
Black or African American alone (NH) 544 607 0.62% 0.66%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 3,486 3,528 3.97% 3.85%
Asian alone (NH) 1,402 1,730 1.60% 1.89%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 92 110 0.10% 0.12%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 131 592 0.15% 0.65%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 2,432 4,896 2.77% 5.34%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 19,505 23,933 22.20% 26.13%
Total 87,841 91,601 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.


Places by population, race, and income

2010 Census

The 2010 United States Census reported that Mendocino County had a population of 87,841. The racial makeup of Mendocino County was 67,218 (76.5%) White, 622 (0.7%) African American, 4,277 (4.9%) Native American, 1,450 (1.7%) Asian, 119 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 10,185 (11.6%) from other races, and 3,970 (4.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19,505 persons (22.2%).


As of the census of 2000, there were 86,265 people, 33,266 households, and 21,855 families residing in the county. The population density was 25 people per square mile (9/km2). There were 36,937 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 80.8% White, 0.6% Black or African American, 4.8% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 8.6% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. 16.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 12.2% were of German, 10.8% English, 8.6% Irish, 6.1% Italian and 5.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 84.4% spoke English and 13.2% Spanish as their first language.

There were 33,266 households, out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.5% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 27.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,996, and the median income for a family was $42,168. Males had a median income of $33,128 versus $23,774 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,443. About 10.9% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.5% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.


US 101 Mendocino County
US 101 in Mendocino County

Major highways

  • California 1.svg State Route 1
  • US 101 (1961 cutout).svg U.S. Route 101
  • California 20.svg State Route 20
  • California 128.svg State Route 128
  • California 162.svg State Route 162
  • California 175.svg State Route 175
  • California 222.svg State Route 222 (unsigned)
  • California 253.svg State Route 253
  • California 271.svg State Route 271

Public transportation


The Mendocino Transit Authority provides local and intercity bus service within Mendocino County. Limited service also connects with transit in Sonoma County. Greyhound Bus Lines currently serves Ukiah.

Amtrak's operates connecting bus service to Ukiah, Willits and Laytonville.

The historic Skunk Train is a heritage railway that connects Fort Bragg, California with Willits using steam locomotives.


  • Ukiah Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport owned by the City of Ukiah. It is located south of downtown Ukiah.
  • Little River Airport is a general aviation airport serving the Mendocino coast.
  • Willits Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport serving the Willits / Little Lake Valley area. Located in the Brooktrails subdivision area west of Willits.
  • Round Valley Airport is a general aviation airport serving the Covelo / Round Valley area.
  • Boonville Airport (California) is a general aviation airport serving the Boonville / Anderson Valley area.
  • Ocean Ridge Airport is a privately owned general aviation airport serving the Gualala area.

For commercial service, passengers in Mendocino County need to go to Eureka, one county to the north in Humboldt County, or to Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, one county to the south. More comprehensive service is available from Sacramento to the east or San Francisco, well to the south.

Emergency services for the largely unincorporated county are coordinated through Howard Forest Station, a local Cal Fire station just south of Willits.


Ecological Staircase trail
Ecological staircase trail in Jug Handle State Nature Reserve
Islands off mendocino
Islands off the Mendocino coast


Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Indian reservations

Mendocino County has nine Indian reservations lying within its borders, the fourth most of any county in the United States (after San Diego County, California; Sandoval County, New Mexico; and Riverside County, California).

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Mendocino County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Ukiah City 16,075
2 Fort Bragg City 7,273
3 Willits City 4,888
4 Brooktrails CDP 3,235
5 Redwood Valley CDP 1,729
6 Covelo CDP 1,255
7 Laytonville CDP 1,227
8 Talmage CDP 1,130
9 Boonville CDP 1,035
10 Mendocino CDP 894
11 Hopland CDP 756
12 Calpella CDP 679
13 Potter Valley CDP 646
14 Cleone CDP 618
15 Caspar CDP 509
16 Point Arena City 449
17 Round Valley Reservation (partially in Trinity County) AIAN 401
18 Philo CDP 349
19 Anchor Bay CDP 340
20 Redwood Valley Rancheria AIAN 238
t-21 Laytonville Rancheria AIAN 212
t-21 Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria AIAN 212
22 Manchester CDP 195
t-23 Albion CDP 168
t-23 Sherwood Valley Rancheria AIAN 168
24 Comptche CDP 159
25 Coyote Valley Reservation AIAN 144
26 Pinoleville Rancheria AIAN 129
27 Leggett CDP 122
28 Little River CDP 117
29 Guidiville Rancheria AIAN 52
30 Hopland Rancheria (Pomo Indians) AIAN 38

In popular culture

Kate McGarrigle's song "(Talk to Me of) Mendocino," is one of the songs on the McGarrigles' 1975 debut album; it has been covered by Linda Ronstadt on her 1982 album Get Closer, and by the English singer-songwriter John Howard on his 2007 E.P., and also by Bette Midler on her 2014 album It's The Girls.

A song written by Matt Serletic and Bernie Taupin, Mendocino County Line released in 2002, is about a love that could not last and cites the 'Mendocino County Line' in the chorus.

The last racing scene of the movie Need for Speed(2014) was shot on the highways in the region.


Community colleges

  • Mendocino College:
    • Main campus, Ukiah
    • North County Center, Willits
    • Coast Center, Fort Bragg
  • Pacific Union College's Albion Biological Field Station


  • Dharma Realm Buddhist University

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Mendocino para niños

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