lake mendocino (South)
What you can find: Assorted colorful jaspers
Ease of access: Very easy.
Equipment needed: Backpack for specimens
Safety considerations: None beyond usual common sense.
Where, exactly? From Ukiah, take State Street north to Lake Mendocino Drive, and park in the parking area by the dam. Walk all the way across the dam, until the paved path leaves the lake and begins to go up the hill -- at this point, take the small trail to the left that takes you down to the shore.
Lake Mendocino is a fun place to wander around and look for rocks, though you have to know the areas of shoreline that are best in order to find much. It's definitely best to go when the water isn't too high.
You're aiming for the point of land that sticks out into the lake, with a sheer dirt cliff. As you approach, start inspecting the cobbles around your feet for colorful jaspers.
They come in various colors, from purple and yellow to bright reds. They're not very common, but definitely worth it when you find one!
And, of course, don't forget to admire the lovely views of the lake and the mountains while you're there! If you're lucky, you might spot some great blue herons, or even a bald eagle or two.