Sierra Nevada Forests, Part 4B: Reservoirs, Trails, Wilderness

Reservoirs and Hydroelectric Power Projects
This section includes federally authorized hydroelectric projects, reservoirs located on federal lands, and reservoirs constructed by federal agencies. Because of the large number of hydroelectric developments in the Sierra Nevada, reservoirs are listed by river basin.
Kaweah River
Crystal Lake, Southern California Edison (N36º26’ W118º34’) is a storage dam for Kaweah Hydro Plant near Mineral King.
Eagle Lake, Southern California Edison, Sequoia National Park (N36º25’ W118º36’) is a storage dam for Kaweah Hydro Plant near Mineral King.
Franklin Lake, Southern California Edison, Sequoia National Park (N36º25’ W118º34’) is a storage dam for Kaweah Hydro Plant near Mineral King.
Marble Flat Diversion Dam, Southern California Edison, Sequoia National Park (36º31’ W118º48’).
Middle Fork Diversion Dam, Southern California Edison, Sequoia National Park (36º31’ W118º47’)
Upper Monarch Lake, Southern California Edison, Sequoia National Park (N36º27’ W118º34’) is a storage dam for the Kaweah Hydro Plant near Mineral King
National Trails System
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail extends 2,600 miles from Canada to Mexico, passing through some of the most scenic areas in California. The Sierra Nevada section provides a tour of wilderness areas. Beginning at Walker Pass National Historic Landmark on State Route 178 (N35º40’ W118º2’), the trail passes through Owens Peak Wilderness (N35º44’ W118º0’), crosses Canebrake Road into Chimney Peak Wilderness (N35º50’ W118º3’), crosses Chimney Basin Road into Domeland Wilderness (N35º54’ W118º7’), and exits Domeland at Kennedy Meadows in the Inyo National Forest (N36º3’ W118º8’). North of Kennedy Meadows, the trail follows the Kern River in South Sierra Wilderness. The trail then crosses the Golden Trout Wilderness boundary (N36º16’ W118º8’) and passes Big Dry Meadow and Trail Pass in the wilderness before entering Sequoia National Park (N36º28’ W118º16’). The trail crosses the Bighorn Plateau in the park and then enters Kings Canyon National Park at Forester Pass (N36º42’ W118º22’). Within the park the trail follows portions of both the Middle Fork and South Fork Kings River Wild Rivers. The trail leaves Kings Canyon National Park on the South Fork San Joaquin River (N37º14’ W118º50’) and enters the John Muir Wilderness. The trail passes Selden Pass, Silver Pass, and Tully Hole in the wilderness before crossing into Ansel Adams Wilderness at Crater Meadow (N37º35’ W119º3’).

National Recreation Trails (NRTs)
Cannell Meadow NRT, Sequoia NF, is a mountain bike trail extending for 11.5 miles from the horse corrals two miles north of Kernville (N35º46’ W118º26’) to Pine Flat and ending at Cannell Meadow (N35º50’ W118º22’). The trail offers views of the Kern River valley.
Congress NRT, Sequoia NP, California (N36º34’ W118º45’) is a two-mile trail through the Giant Forest on Generals Highway, passing numerous giant sequoia trees, many of which are named after famous people or institutions.
Crystal Cave NRT, Sequoia NP, California (N36º35’ W118º50’) is a one-half mile trail, the entrance path for visitors touring the underground caverns.
Jackass Creek NRT, Sequoia NF (N36ᵒ5’ W118º14’), is a six-mile off-highway vehicle trail beginning north of Fish Lake Campground on Sherman Pass Road (Forest Road 21S01) west of South Sierra Wilderness. The trail ends near Jackass Peak.
Summit NRT, Giant Sequoia NM, California, extends 12 miles north from Windy Gap on Forest Road 21S94 (N36º3’ W118º35’), crossing Slate Mountain Botanical Area, then crossing State Route 190 at Quaking Aspen (N36º7’ W118º33’). The national recreation trail portion ends at Log Cabin Meadow and the Clicks Creek Trailhead (N36º10’ W118º34’). Summit Trail continues north into the Golden Trout Wilderness and Sequoia National Park.
Zumwalt Meadow NRT, Kings Canyon NP, California (N36º47’ W118º36’), leads 1.5 miles through the Kings River valley, with views of the Grand Sentinel, which consists of vertical granite cliffs. The trailhead is three miles east of Cedar Grove Village.

Wild and Scenic Rivers

The Kern River (designated as North Fork Kern River in the wild and scenic river system) within Sequoia National Park, Golden Trout Wilderness, and Sequoia National Forest is part of the national wild and scenic river system from its headwaters at Harrison Pass (N36º42’ W118º24’) downstream to the Tulare-Kern County line (N35º48’ W118º27’). The North Fork is the longest, linear, glacially sculptured valley in the world. Virgin riparian woodlands are found here.

The South Fork Kern River, Dome Land Wilderness, Golden Trout Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, and South Sierra Wilderness, is a wild and scenic river for 73 miles from its headwaters in the Golden Trout Wilderness (N36º25’ W118º14’) downstream to the Sequoia National Forest boundary in the Dome Land Wilderness (N35º45’ W118º11’). It is a whitewater river through the Dome Land Wilderness.

National Wilderness Preservation System

The 23 areas that make up the National Wilderness Preservation System include some of the oldest and largest areas in the wilderness system. The John Krebs Wilderness and Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness areas are described under Man and the Biosphere Reserves.
Chimney Peak Wilderness, National System of Public Lands, California (N35º52’ W118º3’), is 13,100 acres surrounded by the Dome Land Wilderness on the north, west, and south, the Owens Peak Wilderness on the east, and the Sacatar Trail wilderness on the northeast. These canyons and ridges at the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada contain cottonwoods, cactus, pinyon pine, and sagebrush. Chimney Creek is a trout stream. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail traverses two sections of the wilderness, one east of Chimney Basin Road (N35º54’ W118º7’) and another north of Canebrake Road (N35º51’ W118º4’).
Dome Land Wilderness, Sequoia National Forest and National System of Public Lands, California, is 133,160 acres at the transition from the southernmost Sierra Nevada Mountains into the deserts. The northern portions are a large basin with conifers and wet meadows and the southern portions include granite domes. The northernmost point is on Bitter Creek (N36º2’ W118º10’), the easternmost point is near Chimney Creek (N35º53’ W118º2’), and the southernmost point is Gibonney Canyon near Onyx on State Route 178 (N35º41’ W118º16’). Major named features in the wilderness are Pine Mountain (N36º1’ W118º11’), Woodpecker Meadow (N35º58’ W118º16’), Rockhouse Basin (N35º56’ W118º10’), White Dome (N35º52’ W118º13’), Chimney Creek (N35º47’ W118º6’), and Pilot Knob (N35º44’ W118º13’). On the north edge of the wilderness in the Kern Plateau area, Bald Mountain Botanical Area (N36º1’ W118º15’) is protected for a rare Horkelia species, along with five pines and two fir species. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail traverses the wilderness for nine miles from Kennedy Meadows (N36º3’ W118º8’) south to Chimney Basin Road (N35º54’ W118º7’). Church Dome Research Natural Area (N35º52’ W118º16’) is a Jeffrey pine high elevation forest. The South Fork Kern River is a wild and scenic river from where it enters the wilderness at Kennedy Meadows (N36º1’ W118º8’) south 28 miles to where it leaves the Sequoia National Forest (N35º45’ W118º11’). Other wildernesses bordering Dome Land are Chimney Peak on the east, Owens Peak on the southeast, Sacatar Trail to the northeast, South Sierra on the north, and Kiavah on the south.
Golden Trout Wilderness, Inyo and Sequoia National Forests and Giant Sequoia National Monument, California, is 303,500 acres. Most of the wilderness is in the high Sierra meadows and forests, but the wilderness grades into the Mojave Desert ecoregion on its eastern side. The southeastern end is at Olancha Creek (N36º16’ W118º3’), the northeastern area is at Timosea Peak (N36º27’ W118º5’), the northwestern end is west of the North Fork Middle Fork Tule River (N36º18’ W118º40’), and the southwestern end is at the Forks of the Kern (N36º8’ W118º26’). The portion in the national monument includes Maggie Mountain (N36º16’ W118º37’) and its sequoia groves, Moses Mountain Research Natural Area, and South Mountaineer Creek RNA. In the Sequoia National Forest, the wilderness includes the Kern Plateau and the North and South Forks Kern National Wild and Scenic Rivers. In the Inyo National Forest portion, Jordan Hot Springs (N36º14’ W118º18’) is on Nine Mile Creek. Located along a historic wagon road across the Sierras, this was a 20th century resort that operated until 1990. In 1918, it was noted as having a big dance floor. Another scenic section in the Inyo portion is Volcano Meadow (N36º21’ W118º19’) and adjoining cinder cones. The trail up Golden Trout Creek from the Kern River passes a natural bridge formed by lava flows and Volcano Falls. In the northernmost portion on the John Muir Wilderness boundary, Golden Trout Camp provides week-long natural history workshops in the summer (www.goldentroutworkshops.com). Mountains include Cirque Peak (12,900’) on the John Muir Wilderness boundary (N36º29’ W118º14’), Toowa Range (N36º18’ W118º16’), the Great Western Divide (N36º17’ W118º28’), and Flatiron (N36º11’ W118º25’). Other features are Horseshoe Meadow (N36º27’ W118º10’), which is the major Inyo National Forest trailhead, Big Whitney Meadow (N36º26’ W118º16’), Strawberry Meadow (N36º18’ W118º11’), East Potholes (N36º15’ W118º9’), and Hells Hole (N36º15’ W118º22’). Hiking information is maintained at goldentroutwilderness.wordpress.com. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail traverses the wilderness from the Sequoia National Park boundary (N36º28’ W118º16’), through Trail Pass and Big Dry Meadow to the South Sierra Wilderness boundary (N36º16’ W118º8’). The Kern River is a wild and scenic river from where it enters the wilderness from Sequoia National Park (N36º21’ W118º24’) downstream to the wilderness boundary at Forks of the Kern (N36º8’ W118º26’), which is the confluence of the Little Kern River. The South Fork Kern River within the wilderness is a wild and scenic river from its headwaters north of South Fork Meadow (N36º25’ W118º14’) for 20 miles downstream to where it leaves the wilderness north of Monache Meadows (N36º16’ W118º12’). South Mountaineer Creek candidate RNA (N36º12’ W118º36’) is 603 acres, including red fir forest near its southernmost limit. Other forest types are western white pine and lodgepole pine. Moses Mountain RNA (N36º17’ W118º 40’) is a giant sequoia forest with notable reproduction of younger trees. Also included is Long Meadow and areas of red fir forest. Last Chance Meadow RNA (N36º27’ W118º9’) is a 660-acre foxtail pine forest near Horseshoe Meadows. Some trees in the subalpine forest grow to 1,500 years in age. The RNA borders the Pacific Crest Trail. The wilderness borders the John Krebs, John Muir and Sequoia-Kings Canyon wildernesses on the north and South Sierra Wilderness on the south.
Jennie Lakes Wilderness, Sequoia National Forest, California, is 10,300 acres and includes 10,000-foot Mitchell Peak (N36º44’ W118º43’) adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park. The area contains ponds, meadows, and forests of red fir, lodgepole pine, and western white pine. Jennie Ellis Lake (N36º41’ W118º46’) and Weaver Lake (N36º42’ W118º48’) are within the wilderness. The wilderness borders the Sequoia-Kings Canyon wilderness on the east and south and the Giant Sequoia National Monument on the north.
Monarch Wilderness, Sequoia National Forest, Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sierra National Forest, California, is 44,900 acres, with elevations ranging from 2,000 feet on the South Fork Kings River to 11,000 feet at Hogback Peak. It is divided into two sections by the Kings River and State Route 180. This area includes rugged mountains and multicolored rock formations to the west of Kings Canyon NP that are vegetated with chaparral and pine. In the south section are Agnew Grove (N36º47’ W118º47’), Yucca Point (N36º50’ W118º52’), and Windy Cliffs (N36º49’ W118º49’), along with trail access. The Kanawyer Trail provides views into Kings Canyon. The northern section is accessed by Deer Cove Trail which winds to Grizzly Lakes and Wildman Meadow (N36º50’ W118º42’). Other sites in the northern section are Mount Harrington (N36º52’ W118º44’), Little Tehipite Valley (N36º53’ W118º48’), and Deer Canyon (N36º52’ W118º53’). The Middle Fork Kings River Wild River bisects the wilderness from the confluence with the South Fork (N36º50’ W118º53’) upstream to the Kings Canyon National Park boundary (N36º53’ W118º48’). The South Fork Kings River Wild and Scenic River forms the southern border, then bisects the wilderness from the confluence with the Middle Fork upstream to Kings Canyon National Park boundary (N36º48’ W118º42’). The wilderness borders the John Muir wilderness on the northwest and the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness on the north and east. The Windy Gulch Geologic Area (N36º48’ W118º50’) is partially in the wilderness and partially in Sequoia National Monument. It includes Boyden Cave and the Evans Grove of giant sequoias.
John Krebs Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, California, is 40,000 acres and extends from the road to Mineral King south to the South Fork Kaweah River and Clough Cave (N36º21’ W118º46’). It is described under the Man and the Biosphere Reserves section.
Owens Peak Wilderness, National System of Public Lands, California, is a 73,900-acre transition area between the Great Basin, Mojave Desert, and Sierra Nevada with a variety of vegetation types including creosote bush, yucca, oak, and pinyon-juniper. The southernmost point is on State Route 178 west of Freeman Junction (N35º37’ 117º56’) and the northernmost point is at Chimney Meadow (N35º51’ W118º1’). Walker Pass National Historic Landmark (N35º40’ W118º2’) is on the southern edge of the wilderness on State Route 178. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail traverses the wilderness from Walker Pass to Canebrake Road (N35º50’ W118º3’), passing 8,400-foot Owens Peak (N35º44’ W118º0’).
Sacatar Trail Wilderness, National System of Public Lands, California, is 50,500 acres bordered by the Inyo National Forest on the north near Lewis Canyon (N36º3’ W118º1’), Owens Peak Wilderness on the south near Deadfoot Canyon (N35º52’ W117º56’), Los Angeles Aqueduct on the east, Dome Land Wilderness on the west, and Kennedy Meadow Road (N35º58’ W118º6’) on the northwest. Features include Sacatar Canyon (N35º59’ W118º1’), Little Lake Canyon (N35º57’ W117º58’), Fivemile Canyon (N35º54’ W117º58’), and Scodia Meadow (N35º53’ W118º0’). The transition between the Sierra Nevada and Mojave Desert ecoregion includes Joshua trees and pinyon-juniper. Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness, California, is 768,000 acres and includes most of the undeveloped areas of the two national parks. It is described in detail under Man and the Biosphere Reserves.
South Sierra Wilderness, Inyo and Sequoia National Forests, California, is 60,000 acres and contains high elevation meadow lands, fir, and pine on the west side an pinyon-juniper on the east side. The north end is at Olanche Peak (N36º16’ W118º7’) and the south end is along the South Fork Kern River near Kennedy Meadows (N36º2’ W118º8’). Features included are Ball Mountain (N36º4’ W118º6’), Haiwee Pass (N36º8’ W118º4’), Round Mountain (N36º11’ W118º4’), Olanche Pass (N36º13’ W118º6’), Jackass Peak (N36º8’ W118º12’), and Finger Rock (N36º7’ W118º10’). The South Fork Kern Wild and Scenic River traverses the wilderness from Monache Meadow (N36º11’ W118º9’) to Kennedy Meadows. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail crosses the wilderness from Kennedy Meadows (N36º3’ W118º8’) north to the Golden Trout Wilderness boundary (N36 16’ W118 8’). The South Fork Kern River is a national wild and scenic river as if flows through the wilderness from Deer Island (N36º11’ W118º9’) south to Kennedy Meadows (N36º2’ W118º8’).
Other Federal Sites
Kaweah Area of Critical Environmental Concern, National System of Public Lands, California (N36º24’ W118º48’) is east of Three Rivers near the Sequoia National Park boundary, between the Middle Fork and South Fork Kaweah Rivers. This area contains the Case Mountain sequoia grove and rare plant habitat.
Chimney Peak Special Recreation Management Area, National System of Public Lands, California (N35º49’ W118º3’) includes the Chimney Peak Backcountry Byway, campgrounds, and a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in the southern Sierra Nevada range. The Chimney Peak, Dome Land, and Owens Peak Wilderness areas are accessed from the byway, which begins at State Route 178.
Cyrus Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern, National System of Public Lands, California (N35º43’ W118º23’) contains habitat for the Kelso Creek monkeyflower to the north of Lake Isabella.
Indian Creek Recreation Area, National System of Public Lands, California (N38º45’ W119º47’), is 7,000 acres in the eastern Sierra north of Markleeville off of State Route 89. A campground, eight miles of trails, and the Curtz Lake Environmental Study Area are featured.
Keyesville Special Recreation Management Area, National System of Public Lands, California (N35º38’ W118º30’) is a whitewater recreation area, mountain biking, and off-road vehicle area downstream from Isabella Lake.
State and Local Sites
Balch County Park, California (N36º13’ W118º41’) is a campground surrounded by Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest, described separately. The park is administered by Tulare County.
Canebrake Ecological Reserve, California, is 7,200 acres along the South Fork Kern River adjacent to the Dome Land Wilderness. The Bluefield Ranch and Cap Canyon units (N35º43’ W118º18’) are along State Route 178. The Scodie Canyon unit (N35º39’ W118º11’) is south of Onyx, and the Canebrake Creek unit (N35º42’ W118º18’) is along Fay Ranch Road southwest of Dome Land Wilderness. This area at the south end of the Sierra Nevada is characterized by riparian habitats, blue oak-digger pine, sagebrush, and Joshua tree vegetation.
Monache Meadows Wildlife Area, California (N36º14’ W118º10’), is 250 acres surrounded by the Inyo National Forest. The site provides habitat for golden trout and Sierra Nevada fox. The South Fork Kern wild and scenic river passes through the property, which is accessible by a 40-mile drive on four-wheel drive roads from California Hot Springs through the Sequoia and Inyo National Forests. Forest Route 21S05 over Sherman Pass and Forest Route 21S03 to Blackrock are the approach roads.
Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest, California (N36º14’ W118º41’) is 4,800 acres containing 5,000 of the largest and oldest sequoia trees. It is surrounded by Giant Sequoia National Monument. Located north of Camp Nelson, this area contains the Mountain Home grove of giant sequoias.
Whitaker’s Forest, University of California-Berkeley (N36º42’ W118º56’), adjoins Kings Canyon National Park and Giant Sequoia National Monument and is reached from the Quail Flat intersection. It includes 215 large giant sequoias and mixed conifers.
Private Sites
Kern River Preserve, National Audubon Society, California (N35º40’ W118º18’), is an Important Bird Area at the south edge of the Sierra Nevada with lowland riparian woodland is habitat for yellow-billed cuckoo, summer tanager, willow flycatcher, yellow warbler, and song sparrow. It is located east of Isabella Lake on State Route 178.

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