Laytonville, CA (Nature, Hills, Forests)

Laytonville, CA, is one of the smallest cities in California, with a population of just over 1,100 people. It’s located in Mendocino, County, just 23 miles northwest of Willits, another small city known as the “Gateway to the Redwoods”. Despite its size, Laytonville is a relatively prosperous city with good employment and job growth.

The main industry in Laytonville is lumber and it boasts two thriving mills. There are also several other successful businesses in the city. In keeping with most of California, the cost of living in Laytonville is higher than the U.S. average. However, housing prices are significantly lower than in major cities.

On the Forest Edge. North California Mendocino National Forest Landscape - California Places, Travel, and News.

Laytonville, CA Geography

Laytonville is located in the north of California where many of the state’s mountains are. However, there are no mountain ranges in the immediate surroundings of the city and it has an elevation of 1,670 feet above sea level, which is significantly lower than the state average (2,900 feet). 

Situated in the Long Valley Caldera, Laytonville is drained to the north. Tenmile Creek is the primary tributary, which connects to the South Fork of the Eal River. The main route that serves the city is Route 101. It passes right through the middle of the city and links to the neighboring Willits. 

Map North West USA - California Places, Travel, and News.

Laytonville, California Map

Laytonville, CA, is situated around three hours northwest of the nearest major city of Sacramento. It forms a small part of Mendocino County, which is a predominantly rural part of northern California. Due to its small size, Laytonville isn’t widely recognized by all Californians. 

However, the region is well-known among lumber professionals. It’s also a very popular destination for hunters. Albeit controversial, the world-renowned, Shamrock Ranch, is a popular trophy-hunting destination. Its 17,050-acre site is filled with stunning views and wildlife, including elk, blacktail deer, and wild boar. 

Laytonville, CA County

Laytonville makes up part of Mendocino County, one of the northernmost counties in California. The entire county has approximately 91,000 residents, meaning it’s sparsely populated. Much of the region is occupied by stunning nature, including forests, valleys, and rugged terrain. 

The most notable attractions in the county include the Skunk Train that runs between Fort Bragg and Willits, Mendocino National Forest, and Glass Beach. It’s also recognized for its long coastline that features important hubs of industry for the food and beverage trade, including wine production and microbreweries.

Along with Trinity and Humboldt, Mendocino is also one of three counties to create the “Emerald Triangle”. This is the largest cannabis-growing region in the whole of California. Many residents claim that cannabis growing is the most important industry in the county and that the local economy relies heavily on the industry.

Laytonville is in the third district of Mendocino County and has its own legislative supervisor in government. According to the latest surveys and recent voting statistics, Mendocino County is largely Democratic, with 66.4% of residents voting Democrat in the latest elections. 

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What To Do In Laytonville, CA

As one of the smallest and northernmost cities in the state, Laytonville doesn’t have many major attractions to draw in tourists. Most visitors come in search of a peaceful escape from big city life or to explore its vast nature. However, if you’re planning to visit, there are some sites worth seeing:

Caspar Beach

Caspar Beach is a local treasure, located around an hour and twenty minutes from Laytonville by car. The beach is somewhat hidden from the mainland by trees and hills. It’s long been taken care of by locals and is kept in pristine condition. Although it’s mainly quiet, the beach is popular among residents. 

Situated between Doyle Creek and Caspar Creek, Caspar Beach is one of the local hotspots for swimming because it’s deemed safer than many other beaches in the area. That said, the unpredictable nature of the Pacific Ocean means conditions can change quickly, making it unsuitable for swimmers.

When the waves are strong, many people take their surfboards to the beach. If you want to catch a wave at Caspar, it’s a good idea to pack a wet suit as the water can get pretty cold, especially if you’re used to surfing further south. 

Caspar is a well-visited region for road trippers. It has an RV park and campground with all the amenities and facilities you could want. It’s an excellent area to pitch a tent or park your RV for a night or two. From here, you can fish, surf, swim, or hike on one of the many trails in the locality.

If you’re a fan of hiking, be sure to check out the trails that go toward the coastal overlooks. Caspar Headlands State Natural Reserve is just south of the beach and offers beautiful ocean views and photo ops of Caspar Anchorage Cove. While it’s small, the town has several nice restaurants and a handful of bars for entertainment.

Chandelier Drive Thru Tree - California Places, Travel, and News.

Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree

If you’re ever driving near Laytonville, take the opportunity for a unique experience by heading for the Chandelier Drive-Thru. No, we’re not talking about a fancy drive-through restaurant. The Chandelier is a coast redwood tree near Laytonville that you can drive a vehicle through. 

Redwood trees are among the tallest trees on the planet and are native to California. Just a 20-minute drive from Laytonville, CA, you can find the Chandelier redwood. It’s one of the only trees you can drive your car through in the whole country. 

The Chandelier stands a staggering 276 feet high and its base is 16 feet in diameter. However, this tree is unique in that it has a car size hole cut through the middle, measuring 6 foot 9 inches high by 6 feet wide. Although there is a fee to pass through, it’s a fun experience and a great photo opportunity that you won’t find elsewhere. 

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Laytonville, CA Festival

Several local festivals are held in the Laytonville area every year. However, the most popular event by far is the Days Between Music Festival. The annual festival is held in memory of Jerry Garcia, the lead vocalist and guitarist of the Grateful Dead. It takes place in Black Oak Ranch, where Garcia lived for a time.

Fans of Jerry Garcia and Grateful dead travel from all over the world to attend the festival. The setting creates an intimate and peaceful atmosphere, in keeping with Garcia’s musical essence. Black Oak Ranch has held many incredible music events over the years, mainly down to Garcia’s affinity with the place. 

The festival lends its name to Garcia’s death. The nine days between his birthday and death are commonly referred to as “The Days Between”. Festival goers can camp on site and even pay tribute to Garcia at the “Garden of Memory”. 

The sequoia redwoods and ferns in the forest in Mendocino County California - California Places, Travel, and News.

Mendocino National Forest

The Mendocino National Forest is an enormous plot of lush, rugged landscape spanning almost a million acres. It lies between the Sacramento Valley and the North Coast mountains and features a range of terrain, from dense woodlands to large open meadows and from serene lakes to modern campgrounds.

If you’re an adventure seeker that’s found yourself in Laytonville, CA, take the short journey to the National Forest and choose from a host of fun activities. Much like the rest of California, the most popular recreational activities in the forest are hiking and backpacking. However, you can also fish, boat, and study its beautiful nature all day.

If you’re looking for a remote camping spot, slightly off the beaten track, Mendocino is a fantastic option. There are several well-served campgrounds where you can park an RV. For more rudimentary campers, there should be ample space to pitch a tent and plenty of facilities, like showers, bathrooms, and even convenience stores.

Mendocino National Forest is the only U.S. National Forest that isn’t crossed by a highway or paved road. While the essence of its beauty is its vast nature, there are several noteworthy sites to check out, such as:

  • Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument 
  • The Chico Seed Orchard
  • Pine Moutain Lookout
  • Red Bluff Recreation Area

Laytonville, CA Hotels

Accommodation is not hard to come by in Laytonville, CA. While the city doesn’t necessarily have internationally recognized hotel chains, there are several nice options across a range of budgets. You can easily find hotels on the usual booking websites. 

Laytonville, CA Motels

As with hotels, Laytonville, CA, has plenty of budget motel options. These are excellent options for short-term stays or for people taking a road trip along the west coast. Again, a quick Google search brings you the top available options in the city. 

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Sunset in California - California Places, Travel, and News.

Laytonville, CA Weather

Laytonville has excellent weather and certainly lives up to California’s Golden State moniker during the summer months. However, its climate differs somewhat from more southern areas like Los Angeles or San Francisco. In the south, it often seems like there is endless sunshine. 

In Laytonville, the seasons don’t blend into one. Spring, summer, fall, and winter are clearly identifiable. Summers are hotter than the state average (87°F in July) and it gets more sunshine than most other cities (214 days). While the temperature drops during the rainy winter season, Laytonville gets less precipitation than the state average. 

That said, Laytonville endures approximately 52 inches of rain per year, which is more than California’s 38-inch average. Without a doubt, the best time to visit is during summer, when you can enjoy outdoor activities in the sun. 

Laytonville, CA Crime

Unfortunately, the crime rate in Laytonville is far higher than the national average. There has been several Laytonville, CA murders over the years, which make for disturbing reading for residents and visitors. 

However, it’s important to note that for a city of its size, crime isn’t all that common in Laytonville. Because its population is so small, any documented crime causes a significant spike in the official rates. It’s generally deemed a safe city.

What is in Laytonville CA?

Laytonville, CA, is a small town in Mendocino County with a population of 1,152 people (2020). Situated in the countryside, the main activities in Laytonville are outdoors. It has Caspar Beach, the Chandelier drive-through tree, Days Between Festival, and plenty of lands to hunt.

What is Willits California known for?

Willits, CA, is a neighboring city of Laytonville. It’s known for its industry, with two prominent lumbers, an excellent hospital, and several other thriving businesses. It’s also renowned for its artistry and has more musicians and artists per capita than the average U.S. city.

What’s the zip code in Laytonville California?

The zip code in Laytonville, CA, is 95454.

What county is Mendocino?

Mendocino County is located in the northwest of California. It’s known for its unique coastline, where you can find Redwood forests, microbreweries, and wine producers. Despite having a small population (91,600), it contributes significantly to the state of California.


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