INYO NATIONAL FOREST
Located in California's beautiful Eastern Sierra, the Inyo National Forest offers clean air, crystal blue skies, mountain lakes and streams, challenging trails, high mountain peaks, and beautiful views. With over two million acres, the Inyo National Forest is home to many natural wonders, including Mt. Whitney, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes Basin, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, as well as seven Congressionally-designated Wildernesses, comprising over 650,000 acres of land.
Recreational opportunities include camping, picnicking, hiking, backpacking, equestrian use, and off-highway vehicle use. Two ski resorts offer alpine skiing and snowboarding; over 100 miles of trails groomed for multiple purpose winter use (snowmobile, skiing, and hiking), and approximately 45 miles of trails groomed for cross-country skiing.
The Inyo National Forest currently shares in managing seven wildernesses.
First established as a Primitive area in 1931, then a Wild area in 1957, the Hoover Wilderness was one of the original members of the National Wilderness Preservation System. At 48,601 acres, it is a fairly small wilderness area, accessible from Yosemite National Park, Humboldt/Toiyabe and the Inyo National ForestsWith it's extremely rugged terrain, magnificent scenery and well-maintained trail system, the Hoover sees heavy visitation, especially in the popular 20 Lakes Basin area. Visitors can expect to see black bears, rainbow, brook and golden trout, and harsh, varied weather systems.
The Ansel Adams Wilderness was designated with the Wilderness Act of 1964. Extending from Highway 120 in the north to Lake Thomas Edison in the south it contains 231,066 acres of wilderness, including much of the John Muir Trail. In addition, Devils Postpile National Monument, though not wilderness, is centered in the Ansel Adams. Its name was changed from Minarets Wilderness in 1984 to honor the famous photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams.
The John Muir Wilderness encompasses a 100-mile stretch of typical Sierra Nevada peaks and valleys, including the tallest peak in the lower 48 states, Mount Whitney (14,496 feet). It is one of the most heavily visited wildernesses in the nation. The John Muir was also established with the Wilderness Act of 1964 and enlarged by the California Wilderness Act of 1984, now totaling 581,143 acres.
Named after the brightly colored California state fish, the Golden Trout Wilderness extends from Lone Pine below the John Muir Wilderness, south and west, encompassing 306,000 acres. Designated a wilderness in 1978 by the United States Congress, the Golden Trout sees heavy visitor use and attracts anglers, horse packers, backpackers, and water adventurers alike.
With the Golden Trout Wilderness on its northern boundary, the South Sierra Wilderness straddles the Sierra crest at the southern end of the range. Elevations range from 6,100 feet near Kennedy Meadows to 12,123 feet at Olancha Peak. Visitors will find fragile meadow ecosystems, forested hills, rugged peaks, and outstanding opportunities for solitude in this 62,700 acre wilderness.
Boundary Peak Wilderness lies entirely in Nevada and makes up the smallest wilderness area in the state with 10,700 acres. Named for the highest point in Nevada, Boundary Peak attracts climbers and hikers to its lonely summit at 13,140 feet. From here, views extend across the drainages of many dramatic desert ranges including the Inyo and White Mountains.
Separating the Owens Valley from the Saline Valley and its surrounding ranges lie the isolated Inyo Mountains. The Wilderness bearing their name covers most of the range with its 205,020 acres of mostly unmaintained, rugged land. Hikers desiring a trip high in solitude with rich historical value will find adventure and unrestricted recreation here.
Although trout are not native to most lakes and streams of the eastern Sierra, fishing continues to be an increasingly popular activity. Several trout species have made their way into almost all waterways of the Sierra, often times displacing the native golden trout, California's brightly colored state fish. In an effort to replenish this native population, certain restrictions apply to fishing in the John Muir Wilderness.