Gearhart Wilderness offers 22,684 acres of some of the most spectacular views from any angle as well as solitude, and a remote area with primitive recreation opportunities. At 8,364 feet, Gearhart Mountain stands higher than all the other volcanic domes in this Wilderness of high mountain meadows, cirques, and U-shaped valleys. Picturesque rock formations cap most of the ridgelines, offering sweeping views of the artistic sculpturings of long-vanished glaciers. Lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, whitebark pine and white fir dominate the vegetation. There is only one lake in the Wilderness, Blue Lake. The Wild and Scenic North Fork Sprague River sweeps past the northern boundary of the area.
The main thoroughfare, Gearhart Mountain Trail, provides about 13 miles of access for foot and horse traffic along the main ridge and to the well-visited shores of Blue Lake. Joining the main trail from the southwest is the 3 mile Boulder Springs Trail to the wilderness boundary and 3.5 miles to Deming Creek Trailhead. The wilderness has fairly gentle terrain and open forestland with beautiful mountain meadows with lush green ground cover, stands of aspens, and multitude of spring flowers that invites visitors to explore all corners of the wilderness The snow starts in late September and may linger until early July. Snowshoeing and backcountry skiing are increasingly popular sports here.
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At a Glance
Wilderness regulations apply
Closed to motorize and mechanized vehicle use.
Recommended maximum group size: 10 (people & animals).
Pack & Saddle animals are not permitted within 200 ft of Blue Lake or any stream.
Check at the Ranger Stations for fire restrictions.
Bly Ranger District
Trailheads and trails that access Gearhart Wilderness:
Campbell Reservoir, Gearhart Mountain, Lee Thomas Crossing, Sandhill Crossing. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.
Buy maps online
Go to the National Forest Store.
Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.
Garbage: Burn what you can and Pack out what you can't.
Water: No maintained water systems; boil all water taken from open sources.
Safety: The wilderness is an environment that is unpredictable so bring clothing and supplies for all types of weather and situations. Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
General maps and other basic information are available at trailhead bulletin boards and Ranger District offices.