Interested in discovering national park wildernes? This text can help you
By definition, the wilderness is an uninhabited, uncultivated natural region. Wildernesses consist of some of the most authentic and undisturbed places in America. The Wilderness Act of 1964 made it so Congressionally designated wildernesses are protected and preserved in their natural condition. These are areas where one can retreat from the civilized and mechanized world, and form an intimate understanding of John Muir’s belief that “the clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” The Sequoia National Forest has six designated wildernesses. Before your adventure, be familiar with the special regulations that apply to wilderness.
The Monarch Wilderness, shared with the Sierra National Forest, is split by the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. (road map below)
Beautiful, dramatic, and untamed, this wilderness elevation rises up to 11,000 feet in elevation at the South Fork of the Kings River. The vegetation ranges from chaparral to sub-alpine, with mountain meadows, lakes, and spectacular geological formations woven into one massive and magnificent landscape. Three trailheads access 30.5 miles of trails within the Monarch. Several of these trails also connect to the national parks’ backcountry.
Jennie Lakes Wilderness
The Jennie Lakes Wilderness unfurls across 10,500-acres and houses a dazzling mixture of lakes, meadows, forests, and streams. Crystal waters sparkle like diamond as far as the eye can see. Mostly above 7,000 feet in elevation, this wilderness contains scenic variations of alpine and sub-alpine forest of red fir, lodgepole pine, and western white pine, with a kaleidoscope of wildflowers spanning the wilderness’s expanse in the spring. The summit of Mitchell Peak is the highest point in the forest, standing tall at a cool 10,365 feet. Five trailheads access 26 miles of trails within this wilderness. Several of these trails also connect to the national parks’ backcountry.
Golden Trout Wilderness
The Golden Trout Wilderness stretches into both the Sequoia and Inyo national forests of California, and encompasses 475 square miles of pristine lakes, jagged peaks, and verdant green meadows so soft, you’d think giants slept there. The elevation of the Sequoia portion of this wilderness ranges from 4,800 feet to 12,432 feet. Vegetation includes grey and pinyon pine woodlands at the lower elevations; Jeffrey pine at the mid-elevations; and red fir, lodgepole, and foxtail pine at the highest elevations. There are approximately 150 miles of winding trails in the Sequoia National Forest portion, each trail more mythical than the last. Visitor permits (required only for overnight stays in the Golden Trout Wilderness) are available free from forest offices near wilderness entry points.
Dome Land Wilderness
The Dome Land Wilderness is best known for its incredible granite domes and unique geologic formations. This semi-arid to arid country has elevations ranging from 3,000 to 9,730 feet. Vegetation here is mostly pinyon pine and sagebrush — a backdrop that, while beautiful during the day, is utterly spectacular at sunrise and sunset. Unfortunately, much of this area fell victim to the infamous Manter Fire, which burned over 67,300 acres of Sequoia in 2000. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also manages part of this wilderness.
South Sierra Wilderness
Fragile meadowlands, forested ridges, rolling hills, and craggy, steep peaks raking across the sky describe this wilderness, which is shared with the Inyo National Forest. The relatively gentle terrain of the 24,650 acres on the Sequoia portion is ideally suited to family-oriented recreation. It is a great introduction into wilderness adventure for children, and will stoke their imaginations for years to come. Elevations range from 6,100 feet near Kennedy Meadows to the summit of Olancha Peak, which boasts an 12,123 foot rise.
The Kiavah Wilderness sprawls across the Sequoia National Forest and into BLM lands. The Sequoia’s 42,100 acres feature eroded hills and canyons in this starkly beautiful transition zone between the Sierra Nevada and the Mojave Desert. While we’re not saying this is a good place to go to discover yourself in the scheme of nature, we’re not saying it isn’t a good place for that, either.