Protected areas of the Sierra Nevada


The protected areas of the Sierra Nevada, a major mountain range located in the U.S. states of California and Nevada, are numerous and highly diverse. Like the mountain range itself, these areas span hundreds of miles along the length of the range, and over 14,000 feet of elevation from the lowest foothills to the summit of Mount Whitney.

The Sierra Nevada, as a natural region, does not have exactly defined borders. In particular, to the north, there is a wide transition zone where the Cascade Range and the Sierra Nevada meet. As a result, it is difficult to delineate a border between these two mountain ranges. This list uses the common definition of the Sierra Nevada as the mountain range extending from Fredonyer Pass in the north to Tehachapi Pass in the south. It is also difficult to delineate between the Sierra Nevada mountains, the range's foothills, and the Central Valley; this article also considers any elevated and hilly terrain east of the flat Central Valley to be part of the range. Areas outside those bounds may also be included if they are widely associated with the Sierra Nevada.

National parks and monuments Edit

Name Image Location Established[1][a] Area[2] Elevation Description
Kings Canyon National Park   33 miles east of Sanger. Includes parts of Fresno and Tulare counties.

36°47′N 118°40′W / 36.783°N 118.667°W / 36.783; -118.667

October 1, 1890[b] 461,902.2 acres (721.7 sq mi; 1,869.3 km2) 1,370–14,505 ft (418–4,421 m)[3][4][c] The park encompasses North Palisade mountain; the Palisade Glacier, the largest glacier in the Sierra Nevada; the North and Middle Forks of the Kings River; the Roaring River, a fast-flowing tributary; and the Grant Grove of giant sequoias including the General Grant, the second largest sequoia in the world. Kings Canyon has the greatest riverbed-to-summit height differential of any canyon in North America.
Sequoia National Park   Tulare County, 27 miles east of Visalia.[d]

36°33′N 118°46′W / 36.550°N 118.767°W / 36.550; -118.767

September 25, 1890 404,062.2 acres (631.3 sq mi; 1,635.2 km2) 1,370–14,505 ft (418–4,421 m)[3][4][c] The Giant Forest, inhabited by the giant sequoias that give the park its name, is home to five of the ten largest trees on Earth, including General Sherman, the world's largest tree. The Giant Forest is only one of dozens of sequoia groves in the park, including Muir Grove and Garfield Grove. Crystal Cave, a marble karst cave, is one of more than 240 known caves in the area. In the backcountry, the Great Dividing Range and Kern Canyon are among many remote alpine peaks and valleys. The park spans 13,000 feet (4,000 m) of vertical relief, from the deep canyons of the lower foothills to Mount Whitney, whose summit is the highest point in the contiguous United States.
Yosemite National Park   18 miles northeast of Mariposa.[e] Includes parts of Madera, Mariposa, Mono, and Tuolumne counties.

37°51′N 119°33′W / 37.850°N 119.550°W / 37.850; -119.550

June 30, 1864[f] 761,747.5 acres (1,190.2 sq mi; 3,082.7 km2) 2,127–13,114 ft (648–3,997 m)[5] Yosemite Valley, the centerpiece of the park, is a densely forested 3,500 ft (1,100 m) deep glacial valley flanked for its whole length by soaring granite masses such as Half Dome and El Capitan. The valley is also known for its many waterfalls, including Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in North America.[g] Tuolumne Meadows, a broad subalpine meadow astride the Tuolumne River studded with numerous granite domes and outcroppings, is the centerpiece of the Yosemite high country, which also includes Glen Aulin valley and a number of high alpine peaks such as Mount Dana and Mount Lyell. Near Wawona to the south, the Mariposa Grove is home to hundreds of giant sequoias, including the Grizzly Giant. Tioga Pass, the highest highway pass in the Sierra Nevada, is a popular scenic route as well as an important link between the Eastern Sierra and the major population centers to the west.
Devils Postpile National Monument   Madera County, 7 miles west of Mammoth Lakes.[h]

37°37′N 119°5′W / 37.617°N 119.083°W / 37.617; -119.083

July 6, 1911[i] 800.2 acres (1.3 sq mi; 3.2 km2) 7,200–8,202 ft (2,190–2,500 m)[6][7] Devil's Postpile, a large and striking formation of columnar basalt formed by an ancient lava flow, is the focal point of this national monument. The formation sits alongside the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River as it courses through the monument. Further downstream, Rainbow Falls is another notable attraction. Devil's Postpile is located near Minaret Summit, the lowest gap along the Sierra Crest for an over 150 miles (240 km) stretch of contiguous roadless wilderness. As such, the area is also an important resupply point for the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, which merge into one trail for a short distance as they pass through the monument.
Giant Sequoia National Monument[j]   Two discontiguous units covering parts of Fresno and Tulare counties.

36°2′N 118°30′W / 36.033°N 118.500°W / 36.033; -118.500

April 15, 2000[8] 327,769 acres (512.1 sq mi; 1,326.4 km2) 1,080–10,365 ft (330–3,160 m)[6] The monument includes 38 of the 39 giant sequoia groves in the Sequoia National Forest, amounting to about half of the sequoia groves currently in existence. This includes one of the ten largest giant sequoias, the Boole Tree. Its two parts are around Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.[9]

National forests Edit

Name Image Location Established[k] Area Elevation Description
Eldorado National Forest   El Dorado, Amador, Alpine, and Placer counties, California; Douglas County, Nevada

38°45′N 120°20′W / 38.750°N 120.333°W / 38.750; -120.333

1910 615,037 acres (961.0 sq mi; 2,489.0 km2)[10] 1,000–10,381 ft (305–3,164 m)[11] At the lower and middle elevations, steep and deep river canyons cut through densely forested, gently rolling plateaus that are home to numerous lakes and reservoirs. Closer to the Sierra crest, the terrain is much more rugged, with peaks soaring above treeline. The forest is home to two wilderness areas. Round Top, its highest peak, is at the center of a popular backcountry skiing area near Carson Pass.
Humboldt–Toiyabe National Forest   Mono, Alpine, Sierra, Nevada, Lassen, and El Dorado counties, California; Mineral, Lyon, Washoe, and Douglas counties and Carson City, Nevada

38°15′N 119°14′W / 38.250°N 119.233°W / 38.250; -119.233

1995 1,600,000 acres (2,500.0 sq mi; 6,475.0 km2)[12][l] 4,500–12,374 ft (1,372–3,772 m)[13][14][11][m] Two districts of this highly dispersed national forest protect a long stretch of the steep, rugged eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. The terrain ranges from the stark granite peaks and basins along the crest, to lush green valleys and forested mountains further down the eastern slope, to scrubby arid ranges located to the east of the Sierras. The forest also protects Nevada's Carson Range, a spur of the Sierra Nevada along the east shore of Lake Tahoe.
Inyo National Forest   Inyo, Mono, Tulare, Fresno, and Madera counties, California; Esmeralda and Mineral counties, Nevada

37°50′N 119°00′W / 37.833°N 119.000°W / 37.833; -119.000

1907 1,987,820 acres (3,106.0 sq mi; 8,044.4 km2)[10] 4,000–14,505 ft (1,219–4,421 m)[15][4] Inyo National Forest protects the eastern slope of the southern Sierra. The southern part of the forest, along the western edge of Owens Valley, is characterized by a precipitous drop from the Sierra crest, reaching up to 14,505 feet (4,421 m) at its highest point at Mount Whitney, down to the valley floor at 4,000 feet (1,200 m) to 5,000 feet (1,500 m), in the span of just a few miles. This national forest is also home to much of the volcanic Long Valley Caldera and other scenic landscape along U.S. Highway 395.
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit   El Dorado, Placer, and Alpine counties, California; Douglas and Washoe counties and Carson City, Nevada

39°00′N 120°00′W / 39.000°N 120.000°W / 39.000; -120.000

1973 154,519 acres (241.4 sq mi; 625.3 km2)[10] 6,225–10,881 ft (1,897–3,317 m)[16] A special unit of the USFS, covering the entirety of the Lake Tahoe basin. This unit is unique among national forests of the area in that it contains heavily populated lakeside communities of tens of thousands of people. The basin includes a wide variety of environments, including the famous shoreline of Lake Tahoe, glacial lakes such as Fallen Leaf Lake, prominent peaks such as Freel Peak and Mount Tallac, and high-alpine meadows that form the upper headwaters of the Truckee River.
Lassen National Forest   Lassen, Shasta, Tehama, Plumas, and Butte counties, California

40°30′N 121°00′W / 40.500°N 121.000°W / 40.500; -121.000

1905 1,154,418 acres (1,803.8 sq mi; 4,671.8 km2)[10] 3,200–8,683 ft (975–2,647 m)[11] The Lassen National Forest protects a unique area at the crossroads of three major ecological regions: the Sierra Nevada, the Cascade Range, and the Great Basin. The forest contains soaring volcanic peaks such as Lassen Peak and Brokeoff Mountain, wide plateaus of transitional forest and sagebrush, and the homelands of Ishi, the last Native American to live most of his life free interactions with the dominant Anglo-Americans.
Plumas National Forest   Plumas, Butte, Sierra, Lassen, and Yuba counties, California

40°00′N 120°40′W / 40.000°N 120.667°W / 40.000; -120.667

1907 1,205,769 acres (1,884.0 sq mi; 4,879.6 km2)[10] 2,000–8,372 ft (610–2,552 m)[17][11] Spanning over a million acres in the northern reaches of the Sierra Nevada, this national forest protects the section of the mountain range with the densest forests and the most prodigious precipitation. While lacking the sheer vertical relief of other parts of the Sierra, the forest contains remote unspoiled backcountry lakes, sheer river canyons cutting through rugged plateaus, and wide meadows tucked into the folds of the mountain range. Notable features include the Feather River Canyon and Bucks Lake Wilderness.
Sequoia National Forest   Tulare, Kern, and Fresno counties, California

36°02′N 118°30′W / 36.033°N 118.500°W / 36.033; -118.500

1908 1,114,908 acres (1,742.0 sq mi; 4,511.9 km2)[10] 1,000–12,432 ft (305–3,789 m)[18][11] Named for the giant tree of the same name, this forest protects the largest concentration of giant sequoias on the planet. Additionally, it protects diverse environments over a massive elevation range, from the steep semi-arid canyons and foothills at the base to the soaring granite peaks, high above treeline, in its eastern reaches. The park contains a national monument and surrounds two large national parks.
Sierra National Forest   Fresno, Madera, and Mariposa counties, California

37°25′N 119°10′W / 37.417°N 119.167°W / 37.417; -119.167

1893 1,316,195 acres (2,056.6 sq mi; 5,326.5 km2)[10] 900–13,986 ft (274–4,263 m)[19][11] Occupying the area between Yosemite and Kings Canyon, the Sierra National Forest contains numerous lakes, high peaks, and occasional groves of giant sequoias. It has some of the biggest high-elevation lakes and reservoirs in the entire mountain range, including Florence Lake, Edison Lake, Huntington Lake, Shaver Lake, Courtright Reservoir, Wishon Reservoir, and others.
Stanislaus National Forest   Tuolumne, Alpine, Mariposa, and Calaveras counties, California

38°15′N 120°00′W / 38.250°N 120.000°W / 38.250; -120.000

1897 898,741 acres (1,404.3 sq mi; 3,637.1 km2)[10] 1,500–11,569 ft (457–3,526 m)[20][11] Stanislaus National Forest protects the rugged, deeply dissected granite terrain north of Yosemite, and the rivers and canyons to its west. The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, still visibly impacted by the Rim Fire of 2013, presents sweeping vistas of its sheer cliffs and the river far below. The Emigrant Wilderness protects a high-elevation landscape of broken granite hills and peaks studded by green oases, small lakes, and scattered meadows.
Tahoe National Forest   Sierra, Placer, Nevada, Yuba, Plumas, and El Dorado counties, California

39°34′N 120°34′W / 39.567°N 120.567°W / 39.567; -120.567

1905 854,814 acres (1,335.6 sq mi; 3,459.3 km2)[10] 1,500–9,148 ft (457–2,788 m)[11] Protecting the land north and west of the lake of the same name, Tahoe National Forest protects environments ranging from ponderosa-oak mixed forests in the foothill elevations to rocky buttes and granite peaks along the crest. Water is everywhere in this forest, with half a dozen parallel rivers running down the western slope to the Sacramento Valley. The Granite Chief Wilderness protects the area to the south and east of Donner Pass, not far from the travails of the infamous pioneers who gave the pass its name. Independence Lake, a pristine glacial lake in a remote corner of the forest, is one of the last refuges of a native species of trout, and has survived numerous attempts at development.

Wilderness areas Edit

Name Image Location Established[n] Area Elevation Description
Ansel Adams Wilderness   Madera, Fresno, and Mono counties

37°41′N 119°11′W / 37.683°N 119.183°W / 37.683; -119.183

1964 231,533 acres (362 sq mi; 937 km2) 3,500–13,143 ft (1,067–4,006 m)[21][22] Covering the area to the south and east of Yosemite National Park and spanning areas on both sides of the Sierra Crest, this wilderness area contains extensive high-alpine terrain above tree line, subalpine forest below tree line, and numerous lakes. Notable features include Thousand Island Lake and Banner Peak (pictured, left).
Bright Star Wilderness   Kern County

35°30′23″N 118°14′34″W / 35.5063454°N 118.2428549°W / 35.5063454; -118.2428549

October 31, 1994 8,190 acres (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km2) 3,000–6,080 ft (900–1,900 m)[23][22] Bright Star Wilderness comprises high desert in the far southern reaches of the Sierra Nevada. The area encompasses Kelso Peak and the Kelso Creek watershed. The Wilderness spans more than 3,000 feet (910 m) of elevation differential, and its ecosystems range from desert scrubland to pinyon-juniper woodland.
Bucks Lake Wilderness   Plumas County

39°57′15″N 121°10′34″W / 39.95417°N 121.17611°W / 39.95417; -121.17611

1984[24] 23,958 acres (37.4 sq mi; 97.0 km2) 2,000–7,120 ft (610–2,170 m)[22] Located in the Feather River basin, the Bucks Lake Wilderness covers the northernmost distinct portion of the Sierra Crest. Located to the north and west of its eponymous canyon, it covers a highland area densely forested with coniferous trees, especially red fir. Spanish Peak, at just over 7,000 feet, provides a sweeping view of the surrounding area and extending as far away as Lassen Peak. A number of bogs and meadows can be found in this exceptionally wet part of the Sierra Nevada.
Carson–Iceberg Wilderness   Alpine and Tuolumne counties

38°27′02″N 119°44′57″W / 38.45056°N 119.74917°W / 38.45056; -119.74917

1984 161,000 acres (252 sq mi; 650 km2)[25] 4,800–11,459 ft (1,500–3,493 m)[22] The Dardanelles, a series of volcanic peaks, rise above 11,000 feet, an anomaly in an otherwise granitic area of the mountain range. The western slope features numerous creeks and rivers cutting canyons down to the Central Valley. The east side, much drier than the west side, features numerous lakes in glacier-carved landscapes. The Iceberg, a distinctive granite formation sculpted by glacial action, gave the wilderness its name alongside explorer Kit Carson.[26]
Chimney Peak Wilderness   Tulare County

35°50′56″N 118°05′09″W / 35.84889°N 118.08583°W / 35.84889; -118.08583

1994[23] 13,140 acres (20.53 sq mi; 53.2 km2) 5,200–7,994 ft (1,600–2,437 m)[22] The Chimney Peak Wilderness protects an area of transitional high desert in the foothills of the southeastern part of the range. Vegetated with sagebrush at lower elevations and pinyon-juniper woodland at higher elevations, the wilderness area is known for its displays of wildflowers in wet years. A number of streams and springs counterbalance the otherwise dry and rocky nature of the landscape.
Desolation Wilderness   El Dorado County

38°55′11″N 120°10′12″W / 38.91972°N 120.17000°W / 38.91972; -120.17000

January 1, 1969 63,960 acres (99.94 sq mi; 258.8 km2)[27] 6,500–9,983 ft (2,000–3,043 m)[28][22] Located west of Lake Tahoe, the Desolation Wilderness is said to be the most visited wilderness area in the United States on a per-square-mile basis. Mount Tallac soars 3,500 feet over Lake Tahoe, providing commanding views of the lake and its basin. Aloha Lake is a unique environment, with the jumbled terrain of the area producing a highly irregular lake with countless small islands. With more than 130 lakes in only 100 square miles, water is everywhere in this wilderness - additionally, on the highest peaks, snowpack can persist well into the summer. Between the numerous lake basins are dozens of barren granite peaks that characterize the desolation for which the wilderness is named.
Dinkey Lakes Wilderness   Fresno County

37°10′17″N 119°02′10″W / 37.1713511427°N 119.036237702°W / 37.1713511427; -119.036237702

September 28, 1984 30,863 acres (48.223 sq mi; 124.90 km2) 8,000–10,612 ft (2,400–3,235 m)[23][22] Northwest of Courtright Reservoir, this densely forested area is home to over a dozen significant lakes. Steep yet rounded granite monoliths, including the Three Sisters peak at over 10,000 feet, rise from rugged plateaus dotted with lakes, meadows, and rocky outcroppings.
Domeland Wilderness   Tulare and Kern counties

35°53′00″N 118°12′33″W / 35.88333°N 118.20917°W / 35.88333; -118.20917

1964 94,695 acres (147.961 sq mi; 383.22 km2)[29] 3,000–9,724 ft (910–2,964 m)[29][22] The southern end of the Kern Plateau is home to numerous granite domes, including the notable Church Dome, that host scenic views of the surrounding semi-arid, lightly wooded landscape. Vegetation is characterized by pinyon-juniper pine on the highlands of the plateau, grading to sagebrush scrub in the desert below.
Emigrant Wilderness   Tuolumne County

38°11′07″N 119°45′53″W / 38.18528°N 119.76472°W / 38.18528; -119.76472

1975[30] 112,277 acres (175.433 sq mi; 454.37 km2) 5,000–11,569 ft (1,500–3,526 m)[30][22] Emigrant Wilderness is northwest of Yosemite. Its lower[clarification needed] western region is rocky and mostly barren, but small lakes and meadows have developed in scattered basins and hollows. Its northeast region is volcanic with peaks forming part of the Sierra crest. Meadows[where?] with stands of trees and granite outcrops have been compared to Yosemite "in miniature".[31]
Golden Trout Wilderness   Tulare and Inyo counties

36°18′0″N 118°19′19″W / 36.30000°N 118.32194°W / 36.30000; -118.32194

1978[32] 303,511 acres (474.236 sq mi; 1,228.27 km2) 4,800–12,900 ft (1,500–3,900 m)[33][22] Golden Trout Wilderness marks the southernmost extent of ice in the Sierra Nevada during the Last Glacial Period. It spans the Kern River, and its larger eastern portion includes the Kern Plateau, which is drained by the South Fork Kern River.[34]
Granite Chief Wilderness   Placer County

39°08′58″N 120°17′45″W / 39.14944°N 120.29583°W / 39.14944; -120.29583

1984[35] 25,680 acres (40.13 sq mi; 103.9 km2)[36] 5,000–9,006 ft (1,500–2,745 m)[35][22] The headwaters of the American River rise in the highlands to the west of Granite Chief, a highly prominent peak that also overlooks the Squaw Valley ski area to the east. The Five Lakes Basin, accessible by day hike from a trailhead near Alpine Meadows, is a popular area that is also traversed by the Pacific Crest trail. The forest is dominated by lodgepole and red fir at upper elevations, and a more varied mixture of conifers and deciduous trees at the lower elevations around 5,000 feet. French Meadows, in the northwest of the wilderness area, is further protected as a game refuge.[23]
Hoover Wilderness   Mono County

38°6′47″N 119°22′37″W / 38.11306°N 119.37694°W / 38.11306; -119.37694

1931[37] 128,000 acres (200 sq mi; 520 km2) 7,000–12,590 ft (2,100–3,840 m)[38][22] Northeast of Yosemite National Park, the Sierra Nevada descends steeply to its eastern base along the western edge of the Great Basin. The sparsely forested terrain, featuring scattered stands of hemlock, pine, aspen, and cottonwood, affords wide open views across the mountains and meadows.
Ishi Wilderness   Tehama County

40°08′05″N 121°45′19″W / 40.13472°N 121.75528°W / 40.13472; -121.75528

1984 41,339 acres (64.592 sq mi; 167.29 km2) 1,000–4,320 ft (300–1,320 m)[39][40][22] Named for the last California Native American to make contact with white society, this wilderness area protects the historic homeland of the Yahi Yana people. In contrast to other Sierra wilderness areas, most of which protect either the alpine and subalpine country along the crest or the high desert to the east, this wilderness area is unique in that it protects the lower-elevation foothills of the western slope. The landscape, which receives plentiful winter and spring rainfall, consists mainly of parallel creeks in densely wooded valleys divided by east–west ridges. Numerous volcanic features dot the area including caves and lava plugs. The Ishi Wilderness is the winter home of California's most numerous migratory deer herd.
Jennie Lakes Wilderness   Tulare County

36°41′00″N 118°40′00″W / 36.68333°N 118.66667°W / 36.68333; -118.66667

1984 10,556 acres (16.494 sq mi; 42.72 km2) 7,000–10,365 ft (2,100–3,159 m)[41][22] This small wilderness area is home to two main lakes, Jennie Lake (for which it is named) and Weaver Lake. Mitchell Peak, at over 10,000 feet, overlooks the lakes and offers wide-ranging views of the area. In addition to the two main lakes, there are half a dozen smaller lakes at elevations ranging up to over 9,000 feet. The area is home to upper montane forest typical of the upper middle elevations of the Sierra Nevada.
John Krebs Wilderness   Tulare County

36°27′39″N 118°34′54″W / 36.4608599°N 118.5817346°W / 36.4608599; -118.5817346

March 30, 2009[42] 39,740 acres (62.09 sq mi; 160.8 km2)[42] 3,400–12,432 ft (1,000–3,789 m)[23][22] Mineral King, a subalpine glacial valley, forms the headwaters of the East Fork Kaweah River. The mountain summits flanking the valley reach over 11,000 feet, more than two-thirds of a mile above the valley floor. High cliffs line the faces of the high peaks, giving way to rocky slopes immediately below and eventually to forested, gently sloping hillsides. At the bottom of the valley is a lush meadow and wetland habitat fringing the river. The valley has narrowly escaped large-scale development a number of times, most notably a Disney proposal for a ski area and year-round family resort. The creation of the wilderness area protected Mineral King from such developments indefinitely into the future.
John Muir Wilderness   Fresno, Inyo, Mono, and Madera counties

36°58′33″N 118°48′42″W / 36.97583°N 118.81167°W / 36.97583; -118.81167

January 1, 1964 650,000 acres (1,020 sq mi; 2,600 km2)[43] 4,000–14,505 ft (1,200–4,421 m)[23][4] The John Muir Wilderness stretches along the Sierra crest for 90 miles. Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet, is the tallest summit in not only the Sierra Nevada but also the entire contiguous United States. Mount Williamson, the second highest peak in the Sierra Nevada, rises straight from the Owens Valley floor more than two miles below. The Palisade Glacier is the southernmost glacier in the U.S., and its namesake peak, North Palisade, is a famous rock climbing destination. The John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail run for a great distance through this wilderness area. In addition to the long and narrow section along the crest, this wilderness area also covers some lower-elevation terrain in the western Sierra north of Kings Canyon National Park.
Kaiser Wilderness   Fresno County

37°25′00″N 119°10′00″W / 37.41667°N 119.16667°W / 37.41667; -119.16667

1976[23] 21,986 acres (34.353 sq mi; 88.97 km2)[23] 7,200–10,310 ft (2,200–3,140 m)[44][22] North of Huntington Lake, Kaiser Peak crowns a high massif separated from the main body of the High Sierra by the canyon of the South Fork San Joaquin River. From the lake's north shore, the ridge rises gently amidst dense stands of coniferous forest, culminating at the subalpine zone near the summit. On the north side of Kaiser Peak, the terrain plunges steeply into the deep canyon far below.
Kiavah Wilderness   Kern County

35°37′20″N 118°06′46″W / 35.62222°N 118.11278°W / 35.62222; -118.11278

1994 88,290 acres (137.95 sq mi; 357.3 km2)[45] 5,000–7,294 ft (1,500–2,223 m)[22] The Scodie Mountains, a low mountain range located at the far southeasternmost extent of the Sierra Nevada, are protected by this wilderness area. These mountains are quite arid, generally receiving only 10 to 15 inches of rainfall-equivalent precipitation per year. As a result, this area contains features of both the Sierra Nevada and Mojave Desert ecosystems, forming a sort of transition zone at the edge of the desert. The driest locations are home to desert vegetation such as sagebrush, creosote, and Joshua trees, and the bajadas at the foot of the mountains are home to desert animals including numerous lizards and the yellow-eared pocket mouse. In areas that receive somewhat greater rainfall, vegetation common to the drier parts of the Sierra, such as pinyon, juniper, canyon oak, and grey pine predominate.[46]
Mokelumne Wilderness   Alpine, Amador, and Calaveras counties

38°35′00″N 119°58′43″W / 38.58333°N 119.97861°W / 38.58333; -119.97861

1964 105,165 acres (164.320 sq mi; 425.59 km2) 4,000–10,381 ft (1,200–3,164 m)[22] Round Top, a geologic remnant of a former volcano, is the highest point in the wilderness, rising to the south of Carson Pass and overlooking several major V-shaped canyons to the south that cut through the heart of the wilderness. Most notable among those canyons is that of the Mokelumne River. Along the banks of that river deep in its canyon, the outlaw Monte Wolfe lived off the land in isolation for years after numerous run-ins with the law. Mokelumne Peak, an isolated peak deep in the wilderness, rises nearly a mile from the canyons below and features commanding views that reach from Round Top all the way to Mount Diablo.
Monarch Wilderness   Fresno County

36°52′35″N 118°45′10″W / 36.87639°N 118.75278°W / 36.87639; -118.75278

1984 44,216 acres (69.088 sq mi; 178.94 km2)[23] 2,000–11,080 ft (610–3,380 m)[47][22] Encompassing over 9,000 feet of vertical relief, the Monarch Wilderness extends from steep chaparral canyonlands at its lowest to rugged subalpine peaks at its highest. Split in half by a road in Kings Canyon national park, the wilderness spans both walls of the deep Kings River canyon. The high country is home to a number of groves of giant sequoias.[48]
Mount Rose Wilderness   Washoe County, Nevada

39°21′00″N 119°55′00″W / 39.35000°N 119.91667°W / 39.35000; -119.91667

1989 31,183 acres (48.723 sq mi; 126.19 km2)[23] 5,000–10,776 ft (1,500–3,285 m)[49] Mount Rose, the highest peak in the Carson Range, sits at the center of the high country of this range, a spur of the Sierra Nevada which projects into Nevada and wraps around Lake Tahoe across the lake from the main body of the Sierra. The peak offers views of the Reno-Sparks-Carson City metropolitan area in the Truckee Meadows to the east. This wilderness area receives heavy use due to its proximity to a number of cities, but in addition to the popular trails it protects areas deeper in the backcountry which see far fewer visitors.[23]
Owens Peak Wilderness   Kern and Tulare counties

35°43′01″N 117°58′04″W / 35.71694°N 117.96778°W / 35.71694; -117.96778

1994[50] 74,060 acres (115.72 sq mi; 299.7 km2) 3,120–8,453 ft (950–2,576 m)[22] At nearly 8,500 feet, Owens Peak is the highest point in a cluster of subsidiary ranges at the interface between the Mojave Desert and the bulk of the Sierra Nevada. Receiving only light use, this area remains relatively pristine. It is a haven of ecological diversity, and is home to a number of notable large fauna such as the black bear, mule deer, golden eagle, mountain lion, and prairie falcon. In addition to the widespread sagebrush and pinyon-juniper woodland, two plant species are also noted as local to the area: the Nine Mile Canyon phacelia and the monkey flower.[50]
Owens River Headwaters Wilderness   Mono County

37°43′18″N 119°03′26″W / 37.7216206511°N 119.057263762°W / 37.7216206511; -119.057263762

March 31, 2009[51] 14,721 acres (23.002 sq mi; 59.57 km2)[51] 7,760–11,549 ft (2,370–3,520 m)[22] The uppermost headwaters of the Owens River, which goes on to flow through the desert valley that shares its name, are protected by this relatively new wilderness area.San Joaquin Mountain, rising over 11,500 feet above sea level to be the highest peak in the area, overlooks the surrounding wilderness below. This mountain, though, is part of a relatively low section of the Sierra Crest, allowing enough moisture to spill over for dense conifer forests to grow.[51]
Sacatar Trail Wilderness   Inyo and Tulare counties

35°57′20″N 117°59′41″W / 35.95556°N 117.99472°W / 35.95556; -117.99472

1994[52] 51,900 acres (81.1 sq mi; 210 km2)[52] 3,541–8,840 ft (1,079–2,690 m) The Sacatar Trail, a long-since disused wagon train trail, cuts through this wilderness area at the interface between the Sierra Nevada and the Mojave Desert. Wide valleys and rugged peaks characterize the topography of the area. Canyons and gullies present habitats for riparian plant life such as cottonwoods and willows, subsisting on the spring-fed creeks that flow down from the mountains. The area is home to diverse wildlife including such notable species as the golden eagle and the mule deer.[23]
Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness   Fresno and Tulare counties

36°33′53″N 118°46′22″W / 36.5647°N 118.7727°W / 36.5647; -118.7727

1964[53] 808,000 acres (1,262 sq mi; 3,270 km2)[53] 1,370–14,505 ft (420–4,421 m)[53][4] This wilderness area incorporates all undeveloped areas of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. It contains many ecosystems in its 13,000 feet (4,000 m) of elevation span, ranging from chaparral foothills to the towering summit of Mount Whitney, the roof of the Sierra. Parts of three Wild and Scenic Rivers flow through the wilderness: the Kern River, the South Fork Kings River, and the Middle Fork Kings River.
South Sierra Wilderness   Tulare and Inyo counties

36°11′01″N 118°06′03″W / 36.18361°N 118.10083°W / 36.18361; -118.10083

1984[54] 62,700 acres (98.0 sq mi; 254 km2)[54] 6,100–12,123 ft (1,900–3,695 m)[54][22] This wilderness area covers the southernmost part of the Sierra Nevada that contains peaks reaching above the tree line, most notably Olancha Peak, the highest point in the wilderness area at 12,123 feet. This area contains two areas with very different characteristics. The western part, making up most of its area, feeds the headwaters of the South Fork Kern River, has considerable tree cover, and has a gentle landscape by Sierra standards, taking the form of a gently rolling high plateau with wide meadows filling the valleys in between isolated mountain peaks. The eastern part is diametrically opposite, with sheer cliffs, deep canyons, and barren treeless desert slopes characterizing the terrain in which the Sierra Crest drops over a vertical mile to the Owens Valley in the space of only a few horizontal miles. Kennedy Meadows is a popular jumping-off point for visitors to this wilderness area.[23]
Yosemite Wilderness   Madera, Mariposa, Mono, and Tuolumne counties

37°51′N 119°33′W / 37.850°N 119.550°W / 37.850; -119.550

1984[55] 704,264 acres (1,100.413 sq mi; 2,850.06 km2)[23] 2,000–13,114 ft (610–3,997 m)[23][22] All undeveloped areas of Yosemite National Park, comprising 94 percent of the park's total area,[23] are designated as wilderness. This area contains most of Yosemite's high country, including all of the scarcely-visited northern half of the park, on the far side of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. These areas, while mostly lacking the striking relief of Yosemite Valley (which is located outside the wilderness area), still contain numerous geologically interesting landscapes, and with diverse environments ranging from mid-elevation meadows in the northwest to Mount Dana, whose summit is the highest point in the park at over 13,000 feet (4,000 m).

Other federal protected areas Edit

State parks Edit

State recreation areas Edit

State forests Edit

State historic parks Edit

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  1. ^ This column indicates the date the relevant area was first protected under law, under any designation. Information about later changes to these designations can be found in the footnotes.
  2. ^ Established as General Grant National Park on that date. Expanded and re-designated under its current name on March 4, 1940.
  3. ^ a b Combined elevation range of Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park. The two parks are managed together as one unit.
  4. ^ As measured from downtown Visalia to the Ash Mountain entrance.
  5. ^ As measured from downtown Mariposa to the Arch Rock entrance.
  6. ^ Established on that date as Yosemite State Park. Yosemite National Park was founded on October 1, 1890, incorporating land not part of the state park. The state park and national park existed in parallel until 1906, when the state park was integrated into the national park.
  7. ^ Yosemite Falls is not the highest waterfall in the United States – Puʻukaʻoku Falls in Hawaii is taller. However, despite being a U.S. state, Hawaii is geographically located in Oceania, not North America.
  8. ^ As measured from the intersection of Main St and Old Mammoth Rd in Mammoth Lakes to the Devils Postpile ranger station.
  9. ^ Originally managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Transferred to the National Park Service on August 10, 1933.
  10. ^ Unlike the other National Park System areas in the Sierra Nevada, the Giant Sequoia National Monument is administered by the U.S. Forest Service, not the National Park Service.
  11. ^ This column indicates the date the relevant area was first protected under law, under any designation. Information about later changes to these designations can be found in the footnotes.
  12. ^ Bridgeport and Carson ranger districts only
  13. ^ Bridgeport and Carson ranger districts only
  14. ^ This column indicates the date the relevant area was first protected under law, under any designation. Information about later changes to these designations can be found in the footnotes.

References Edit

  1. ^ "National Park System Areas Listed in Chronological Order by Date Authorized under DOI" (PDF). National Park Service. June 27, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  2. ^ "Summary of Acreage" (PDF). 2019. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  3. ^ a b "Climate at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (U.S. National Park Service)".
  4. ^ a b c d e "Whitney". NGS Data Sheet. National Geodetic Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  5. ^[bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ a b "CalTopo - Backcountry Mapping Evolved". Archived from the original on 2020-01-12. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  7. ^ "The Buttresses-North End, California". Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  8. ^ "Proclamation 7295—Establishmentof the Giant Sequoia NationalMonument" (PDF). April 15, 2000. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  9. ^ "Giant Sequoia National Monument". USDA Forest Service. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i NFS Acres by Administrative Unit by Region (PDF) (Report). U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "U.S. National Forest High Points". Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  12. ^ "Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest - Districts".
  13. ^ "Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest - Offices". Archived from the original on 2016-03-01.
  14. ^ "Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest - Offices". Archived from the original on 2016-02-06.
  15. ^ "Inyo National Forest - About the Forest".
  16. ^[bare URL PDF]
  17. ^ "Sherpa Guides | California | Sierra Nevada | Northern Sierra | Plumas National Forest".
  18. ^ "Sequoia National Forest - About the Forest".
  19. ^ "Sierra - National Forest Foundation".
  20. ^ "Stanislaus National Forest - About the Forest".
  21. ^ "Inyo National Forest - Ansel Adams Wilderness".
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "California Wilderness High Points". Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Wilderness Connect".
  24. ^ "Plumas National Forest - Bucks Lake Wilderness".
  25. ^ "Stanislaus National Forest - Carson-Iceberg Wilderness - Highway 4 Access".
  26. ^ "".
  27. ^ "Lake Tahoe Basin Mgt Unit - Desolation Wilderness".
  28. ^ "".
  29. ^ a b "Sequoia National Forest - Domeland Wilderness".
  30. ^ a b "Stanislaus National Forest - Emigrant Wilderness".
  31. ^ "Yosemite's Little Sister: Exploring the Rarely Visited Domeland Wilderness". RootsRated. November 27, 2017.
  32. ^ "Inyo National Forest - Golden Trout Wilderness".
  33. ^ "Golden Trout Wilderness" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  34. ^ Swedo, Suzanne (March 2004). Hiking California's Golden Trout Wilderness: A Guide to Backpacking and Day Hiking in the Golden Trout and South Sierra Wilderness Areas. FalconGuides. pp. 2–3.
  35. ^ a b "".
  36. ^ "Lake Tahoe Basin Mgt Unit - Granite Chief Wilderness".
  37. ^ "Inyo National Forest - Hoover Wilderness".
  38. ^ "Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest - Home".
  39. ^ Coalition, California Wilderness (November 23, 2016). "Ishi Wilderness: Deer Creek Trail".
  40. ^ "Ishi Wilderness : Climbing, Hiking & Mountaineering : SummitPost".
  41. ^ "Sequoia National Forest - Jennie Lakes Wilderness".
  42. ^ a b Rivers, Mailing Address: 47050 Generals Highway Three; Us, CA 93271 Phone:565-3341 Contact. "John Krebs Wilderness Dedication - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (U.S. National Park Service)".
  43. ^ "Inyo National Forest - John Muir Wilderness".
  44. ^ "Causes of Haze Assessment (COHA)".
  45. ^ "KIAVAH WILDERNESS" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  46. ^ "".
  47. ^ "Sequoia National Forest - Monarch Wilderness".
  48. ^ "".
  49. ^ "Mt. Rose Wilderness".
  50. ^ a b "".
  51. ^ a b c "Inyo National Forest - Owens River Headwaters Wilderness".
  52. ^ a b "".
  53. ^ a b c Rivers, Mailing Address: 47050 Generals Highway Three; Us, CA 93271 Phone:565-3341 Contact. "Wilderness - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (U.S. National Park Service)".
  54. ^ a b c "Inyo National Forest - South Sierra Wilderness".
  55. ^ Us, Phone: 209/372-0200 Contact. "Yosemite Wilderness - Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service)".