Desolation Wilderness

Wilderness Area

Status: Open

This area is Open

Safety Information

  • Bear Canisters: Bear canisters are required for overnight visits. Over the last decade, bears have become more active in Desolation Wilderness. .Protect yourself by using food storage canisters for all food and toiletries. 
  • Campfires: Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in Desolation Wilderness to reduce human-caused fires, impacts to vegetation from firewood collection, and to reduce the visual impacts of fire rings and surface scarring. Wilderness Permits include a campfire permit for propane appliances with an on/off valve.
  • Method of Travel: Travel is restricted to horseback or foot only. All means of mechanical transportation, including bicycles, carts, and snowmobiles, are prohibited in the wilderness. Wheelchairs are permitted. Stay on trails and do not shortcut switchbacks or create parallel ruts by walking alongside the trail.
  • Waste: Visitors are required to bury human waste 6-8 inches deep and at least 200 feet away from water, trails, and campsites. Toilet paper must be buried or packed out. Garbage must be packed out.
  • Group Size: Maximum group size is 12 people for both day and overnight use.
  • Pets: Leashed domestic pets are currently allowed in the Desolation Wilderness. You are responsible for their actions as well as their welfare. Pets are required to be leashed and you must clean up after them. Dogs can disturb other campers, get in fights with other dogs along the trail, and scare wildlife away. El Dorado County leash laws are enforced inside the Wilderness boundary as dogs off leash can be an impediment and/or hazard to the safety of hikers, and to prevent dogs from harassing or molesting wildlife.
  • Pack Stock: Livestock is limited to 2 livestock per person, or 12 livestock in one group. Do not hitch, tether, or hobble a horse or other saddle or pack animal within 200 feet of a water source or within 100 feet of a campsite.

Recreation Areas