Stanislaus National Forest Wilderness Areas

The Wildernesses of the Stanislaus National Forest (STF) are truly unique and special. The Emigrant Wilderness, the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, and the Mokelumne Wilderness Areas each offer outstanding backcountry experience. Together, these three Wilderness Areas make up almost one quarter of the Stanislaus National Forest and have some of the Forest's most spectacular scenery. Among many recreational pursuits, these Wildernesses offer hiking, backpacking and horseback riding opportunities in a naturally scenic setting and is largely undisturbed by modern development. To experience what these Wildernesses have to offer, a FREE wilderness permit must be obtained.

  • The Emigrant Wilderness is mostly accessed from CA Highway 108 and known for its many sparkling alpine lakes, vast granite basins, and craggy volcanic formations.
  • The STF portion of the Carson-Iceberg is accessed from both CA Highway 4 and CA Highway 108 and provides great opportunities for solitude, a variety of geological features and numerous mountain streams.
  • The STF portion of the Mokelumne is accessed from Highway 4 and includes a portion of the remote and wild Mokelumne River Canyon.
  • There are no quotas for the wilderness areas on the Stanislaus National Forest.

Stanislaus Wilderness Volunteers is a non-profit partner organization that offers opportunities for the public to participate in stewardship of the wilderness through education and hands-on field projects. Visit for more information.

Stanislaus National Forest Wilderness Permits

Thank you for your interest in obtaining a permit for overnight wilderness use from the Stanislaus National Forest. Our online permit system is currently disabled until approximately mid-April while we update for the 2021 season. Although the Stanislaus portions of the Emigrant, Carson-Iceberg, and Mokelumne Wilderness Areas do not have quotas, permits are required for overnight use. We generally only issue permits up to one week prior to the trip start date. If you need a permit for a trip leaving prior to April 1st, please call the District Office closest to your starting trailhead. Otherwise, please check back on the website in April. Thanks again! (March 10, 2021)


FREE permits are required for overnight visits. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the process for obtaining overnight wilderness permits has changed. Most permits can now be obtained online at the link below. Read the following numbered bullets below to learn which applies to your overnight wilderness trip.


1) If you plan to camp entirely within the Emigrant, Mokelumne, or Carson-Iceberg Wilderness Area, AND you also can print your permit or save a copy to your smartphone, then use the link below. After submitting your name and itinerary, you will receive a link to your permit which you must carry with you on your trip (either hardcopy or electronic copy on a smartphone viewable even in offline mode).


Link Temporarily Disabled


2) If your plan is to start at a STF trailhead and your wilderness travel includes overnights outside the STF boundary, such as Yosemite National Park, Desolation Wilderness, or the Inyo, then please call the Stanislaus office nearest to your departure trailhead during our business hours between two and three days prior to your trip. A staff member will collect the information needed and leave you a printed copy of your permit with your name outside that office. Carry your permit on your trip.


3) If you do not have access to a printer nor a smartphone, then please call Stanislaus office nearest to your trailhead during business hours between two and three days prior to your trip. A staff member will collect the information needed and leave you a printed copy of your permit with your name outside that office. Carry your permit on your trip.

 Visitors to wilderness areas are allowed to have campfires and use propane or gel-fuel stoves, as long as they have a valid California campfire permit. Campfire permits may be requested at 

WATER SOURCES IN THE EMIGRANT WILDERNESS: If you are planning a back country trip, be aware of water access during backpacking trips. Water is drying up quite fast this summer, so lakes are really the only reliable source for water in the Emigrant right now - especially out of Crabtree and Gianelli trailheads.  Creeks are almost completely dried up, including Piute Creek, West Fork Cherry Creek, and Buck Meadow Creek.  Creeks in the Upper Emigrant, including Summit Creek and North Fork Cherry Creek can still be used as water sources and are still flowing but they are getting low as well. Know before you go!

NOTE: The STF does not issue permits that continue south of Tioga Road within Yosemite NP. The only permit that can be issued is to exit at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite NP. The STF can not issue permits for the John Muir Trail, to/for the Mount Whitney Zone, or for long distance trips on the Pacific Crest Trail. Contact Yosemite National Park, the Inyo National Forest, or the Pacific Crest Trail Association respectively for these routes and areas.

If you have questions about visiting a Wilderness Area, please contact one of the offices during business hours.


Office Phone Information

Forest Supervisor's office
Sonora, CA

Groveland Ranger District
Groveland, CA
(CA Highway 120)

Calaveras Ranger District
Hathaway Pines, CA
(CA Highway 4)

Summit Ranger District
Pinecrest, CA
(CA Highway 108)

Stanislaus National Forest Wildernesses

All Wilderness Regulations Are in Effect

It is each visitor’s responsibility to know and abide by all regulations and orders.  See trailhead signs for the most common ones that apply. Click here to review the wilderness regulations.

Emigrant Wilderness

The 113,000 acre Emigrant Wilderness, bordered by Yosemite National Park on the south, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest on the east, and State Highway 108 on the north; is an elongated area that trends northeast about 25 miles in length and up to 15 miles in width.



Mokelumne Wilderness

Designated in 1964, the 105,165 acre Mokelumne Wilderness straddles the crest of the central Sierra Nevada, within the Stanislaus, Eldorado, and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests. This area is bordered by State Highway 4 on the south and State Highway 88 on the north. Watersheds drain to the Mokelumne River on the west slope and the Carson River on the east slope.


Carson-Iceberg Wilderness

The 161,000 acre Carson-Iceberg Wilderness straddles the crest of the Sierra Nevada range, divided almost evenly between the Stanislaus and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests. Here you'll find spectacular high country, with several peaks rising above 10,000 feet, broad river valleys, perennial creeks with small waterfalls, granite-strewn slopes, and meadow-filled valleys.