Special Places

From lakeside camping and picnicking to wilderness solitude, the Sierra National Forest is destination recreation. With intensely used and highly developed lakes and the world famous Ansel Adams and John Muir Wildernesses, the Sierra provides the extreme ends of recreation settings. These sharp contrasts provide destinations for visitors to escape from the heat and routine urban life, connect with nature, family and friends.

Given the proximity to large, diverse and growing urban areas the Forest has a responsibility to provide heritage and conservation education to sustain this incredible landscape for future generations.

Settings, Special Places, and Values

Niche Map2 High elevation lakes defined by towering conifers, deeply carved river valleys and huge granite monoliths describe the Sierra National Forest and epitomize mountain California landscapes. Extreme elevation changes provide diverse vegetation from grasslands to sub-alpine meadows. The Sierra NF is the gateway to the Sierras including the intensely visited Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Nearly 50% of the Forest is Wilderness offering solitude and vast open space as part of one of the largest contiguous blocks of wilderness in the continental United States. Outfitter-guides help provide quality recreational experiences. (Select the image map to download the niche map in PDF format.)

The Sierra National Forest consists of many beautiful Special Places within each of the niche settings of Wildlands, Lakes Recreation, Scenic Corridors, and Transitional landscape


Over a thousand miles of trails are in the Sierra National Forest – enough to keep a hiker, horseback rider or backpacker happy season after season.  The trails range from well-maintained, groomed walking paths to rocky, rugged, unmaintained routes through the Forest’s highest reaches.  While most of these trails offer spectacular scenery and solitude, certain trails in the forest are unique enough to have received National recognition.  Those trails are...more

Points of Interest

While there are many breathtaking Points of Interests on the Sierra National Forest, here is a glimpse of some that offer spectacular scenery and history...more.

To find more information about these and other special places that are distinctive to your town, area or region, and are authentic to the Sierra Nevada, please visit the Sierra Nevada Geotourism website at www.SierraNevadaGeotourism.org