California Guide for Tourist


1,303,120 acres. This National Forest stands between Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, in the western Sierras of central California. It’s an area of lofty snow-cov-3red peaks, highest of which is 13,986-foot Mount Humphreys, plus small glaciers, rock outcrops, and deep canyons.

There are also many lakes, streams, and riv-srsamong them the Merced and Kings National Wild and Scenic Riversplus hot springs, high meadows and foothills, giant sequoias, and forests of fir, pine, and cedar, including old-growth stands. Among the wildlife are mule deer, black bear, coyote, bobcat, and fox.

The forest has five designated wilderness areas, consisting of about half of the 584,000-acre John Muir Wilderness, 138,660 acres of the 228,500-acre Ansel Adams Wilderness, the 30,000-acre Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, the 22,700-acre Kaiser Wilderness, and 21,200 acres of the 45,000-acre Monarch Wilderness.

Activities: Backpacking and hiking are possible on 1,100 miles of trails, including sections of the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails (see entries page 113), which coincide here. Difficulty varies from easy to strenuous. High elevations may be under snow until July.

Most trails are open to horses. Some trails are marked for cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing is another winter option. Whitewater rafting and kayaking are available in spring and early summer on the Upper Kings and Merced Rivers. Hunting is permitted in season, and fishing is also possible.

Camping Regulations: Camping is allowed in most of the region, except where posted otherwise. A fire permit is necessary in order to use a stove or build a campfire anywhere in the forest. Campfires may be banned in times of fire danger.

A free wilderness permit is required to camp in all wilderness areas, with a quota system in effect from late June through mid-September for some areas. Campsites should be at least 100 feet from meadows and water sources.

Permits may be obtained from forest offices, and advance reservations are available by mail for a small charge. The permit must be picked up in person at the start of one’s trip.

For Further Information: Sierra National Forest, 1600 Tollhouse Road, Clovis, CA 93612; (209)487-5155.

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