Special Places

Russian Wilderness

Wilderness lake, logs in lake in foreground. Snow covered forested hills in background

-Photo of Paynes Lake is copyrighted, used by permission of Deems Burton-

The Russian Wilderness is located 7 miles southwest of Etna, California. Information about this wilderness can be found at wilderness.net, a website jointly managed by the University of Montana and the four federal agencies that manage Wilderness.

Russian Wilderness-Regulations and Permits 

The wilderness.net website lists current regulations for this wilderness.

Wilderness permits are not required for trips into the Russian Wilderness.  A California Campfire Permit is required and are available from any Forest Service or Cal-Fire office in California.

Russian Wilderness Safety

Wilderness, by its very nature, has inherent risks.  Help may be hours or even days away. You may not be able to rely on a cellphone for communication. Remeber, wilderness safety is YOUR responsibility.

A few tips to remember when planning your wilderness trip, as well as some things to keep in mind while on your hike.

  • Always leave an itinerary of your hike with family or friends, and stick to it.
  • Before your trip, learn about the hazards you may encounter and take adequate precautions. Select appropriate clothing and equipment.  Always hike with a companion. Choose a trail that matches the skill level of your party.
  • Know your own limitations, and the abilities and weaknesses of your hiking companions.Plan your route and rate of travel around the weakest member. Make sure that each member of your party knows what gear the others have packed.
  • Track your location using map and compass or GPS. If you encounter trouble, do not be afraid to turn back. Wilderness maps are available online at the National Forest Store or at some of these Klamath National Forest Offices.

Russian Wilderness Trails on the Klamath National Forest

There are nearly 100 miles of trails in the Russian Wilderness. Some of these trails are steep, little-used paths, while others are well-maintained routes. The amount of maintenance depends on the use patterns, wilderness preservation objectives, available funds and volunteers.   On some trails, don’t be surprised if you are forced to make some detours around logs and other obstacles throughout the year. Trail signs in wilderness areas are intentionally kept to a minimum to enhance the wilderness experience, so a good topographical map is a must. Wilderness maps are available online at the National Forest Store or at some of these Klamath National Forest offices.

Etna Summit-PCT Trailhead
 -Pacific Crest Trail
Intersecting Trails
 -Ruffy/Meaks Meadow/Smith Lake Trail
 -Paynes Lake Trail

Paynes Lake Trailhead
 -Paynes Lake Trail
Intersecting Trails
 -Pacific Crest Trail

Duck/Eaton Lake Trailhead
 -Duck Lake Trail
 -Eaton Lake Trail
Intersecting Trails
 -Music Creek Trail
 -Horseshoe Lake Trail
 -Lipstick Lake Trail

Bingham Lake Trailhead
 -Bingham Lake

Deacon Lee Trailhead
 -Water Dog/Russian Lake Trail
Intersecting Trails
 -South Russian Trail

South Russian Trailhead
 -South Russian Trail
Intersecting Trails
 -Deacon Lee Trail

Music Creek Trailhead
 -Music Creek Trail
Intersecting Trails
 -Pacific Crest Trail
 -Lipstick Lake Trail
 -Duck Lake Trail

Taylor Lake Trailhead
 -Taylor Lake Trail
Intersecting Trails
 -Hogan Lake Trail
 

Other Wildernes Areas on the Klamath National Forest.