Trippin’ with The Ganja Traveler: Mendocino County

vibe dispensary mendocino county

Trippin’ with The Ganja Traveler Series is a guest series from Brian Applegarth,  founder of the Cannabis Travel Association.

A short two-hour drive from the Bay Area lies The Emerald Triangle, California’s most famous legacy producing cannabis region and recognized place of source for the best weed in the world. The Emerald Triangle is the ultimate haven for cannabis enthusiasts and culture seekers alike. It is a place where lush green landscapes and towering redwoods meet the sky, and wild adventure lingers in the air. 

As Bordeaux is to wine, The Emerald Triangle is to cannabis. Regenerative farming, botanical alchemy, and living in close alignment with nature are signature elements of Emerald Triangle culture and communities. Hippies and back-to-the-land homesteaders have been collecting cannabis seeds from the furthest corners of the world for generations and have been perfecting their local cannabis craft for over half a century.

As you travel north on the 101 highway, you will wind through beautiful and picturesque terrain and once you arrive at Hopland you have officially arrived at The Gateway to the Emerald Triangle.

HOPLAND: A charming walkable town with a unique blend of experiences, Hopland is the gateway to the Emerald Triangle and a crown jewel of cannabis country. It is a destination for not only cannabis enthusiasts but also foodies and beer and wine aficionados alike.

A great place to spend a half day or an overnight, begin your Hopland experience at MendoCann, the local cannabis shop famous for mind-bending art as much as it is cannabis. MendoCann carries a wide array of award-winning locally grown cannabis including a few of my favorite farms including Emerald Spirit Botanicals, Wildland Farms, First Cut Farms, and Giving Tree Farms.

Thatcher Hotel is a fantastic cannabis-friendly lodging accommodation. Make time for relaxation, wander down mainstreet and swing by Hopland Tap and Grill or the Golden Pig for sips and savory bites in an elevated state of mind. 

UKIAH: Nestled amidst the rolling hills and vineyards of Mendocino County, Ukiah is a destination with a quaint downtown and a vibrant cannabis scene, all surrounded by natural beauty.

There are four must visit cannabis points of interest to experience in Ukiah. Plantshop is a one-of-a-kind cannabis shop and lounge worthy of a half day with a joint in hand and a journal. As you enter, notice the Cultural Cannabis Landmark on display, a Landmark that honors the Back-to-the-Land cultural heritage and the intentional communities of the region. Ask the budtenders to share more about what the Cultural Landmark represents and why it matters.

plantshop mendocino county
Plantshop is a cannabis dispensary and lounge considered a cultural landmark on The Cannabis Trail Photo: Brian Applegarth

Heritage Hash lays claim as the first public hashery in the United States where you watch solventless hash be made from cannabis flowers through a window from the shop floor. Compassionate Heart is a legacy cannabis shop with an awesome art-inspired lounge complete with abalone ashtrays and a small stage that offers entertainment while you imbibe.

If you are looking for a walkabout adventure, Vibe cannabis shop is a great choice and provides easy access to the old-timey downtown corridor that is filled with boutique shops and great eats like Left Coast Seafood.  I highly recommend a couple nights at  Yokayo Ranch, an amazing ranch-style lux-leaning accommodation where cannabis is always welcomed anywhere on property, without judgment.

WILLITS: A hidden gem, Willits is about a half hour drive north from Ukiah and offers a bustling mainstreet with bohemian-themed shops. Willits is home to two dispensaries and a handful of unique experiences that are worthy of an elevated cannabis adventure.

Make time to visit Kure cannabis shop and Element 7. Once you enter Element 7, you will find a beautifully curated cannabis shop with sweeping green walls, very sleek and welcoming.  Consider an open air Skunk Train ride adventure through the redwoods, catch a show at the local Willits Performing Arts Center, or simply wander down main street indulging in tasty treats and browsing shops.

Ganja Traveler Tips: The Gateway to the Emerald Triangle and the Inland Corridor itinerary is a great option for a spontaneous two or three night getaway from the bay area. If you are flying in, consider Santa Rosa, Oakland, or San Francisco airport – all great options.

Plan for three nights minimum, one night at Thatcher Hotel in Hopland and two nights at Yokayo Ranch in Ukiah. Pass around a joint by the fire pit at Thatcher Hotel and indulge in an elevated soak in the hot tub at Yokayo Ranch. Plantshop cannabis lounge, a stop along The Cannabis Trail, is a must visit. Check out @theganjatraveler on Instagram for more from Mendo.

This article was submitted by a guest contributor to GreenState and first appeared on The author is solely responsible for the content.

brian applegarth

is a cannabis travel writer and innovator with a passion for transformative experiences and cultural heritage. He has written for San Francisco Travel, Visit Oakland, Local Getaways, Skunk Magazine, Visit Greater Palm Springs, Visit Mendocino County, and others. He has been quoted in Forbes, The Washington Post, Smart Meetings, Travel Weekly and elsewhere, and his award-winning cannabis travel work has been featured on NPR, CBS, NBC, and The New York Times. Brian is the founder of the Cannabis Travel Association and the co-founder of the CA State Fair Cannabis Awards & Exhibit. He is a consultant to the travel and cannabis industries and a certified cannabis sommelier Ganjier. IG - @theganjatraveler