Hoover Wilderness


North Peak

Rising from the Great Basin to the crest of the Sierra Nevada bordering Yosemite National Park, the Hoover Wilderness is spectacular. With its magnificent scenery and well-maintained trail system, the Hoover Wilderness is a very popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The Hoover was one of the original units of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It was established as a Primitive Area in 1931, then as a Wild Area in 1957. In 1964, Congress designated it as a Wilderness Area. It now has a total of 128,000 acres. The southern portion, from Lundy Canyon to Highway 120-Tioga Pass road is managed by the Inyo National Forest. The remainder, Virginia Lakes and north,  is managed by the Humboldt/Toiyabe National Forest.

At a Glance

Permit Info: Wilderness Permits are required for overnight visits. Reservations are unnecessary for entering via Saddlebag Lake, Lakes Canyon, or Lundy Canyon. This part of the Hoover Wilderness is non quota, meaning a permit will be issued to everyone requesting a permit.
Restrictions: Hoover Wilderness:
  • No Campfires in 20 Lakes Basin north of Saddlebag Lake.
  • No Camping at Crystal Lake, or Hall Natural Area (includes Conness Lakes, Wasco, Alpine, Green Treble, Maul, Spuller, Big Horn, and Fantail Lakes).  
  • No Swimming or Wading in Crystal Lake.
  • Advised not to use pack goats in Bighorn Sheep habitat.
In addition to all county, state, and federal laws, the following rules apply in wilderness:
  • No Camping within 100 feet of lakes, streams or trails (terrain permitting) & never within 50 feet of lakes, streams or trails.
  • Food or refuse must be stored in a container designed to prevent access by bears, or counter-balanced at least 15 feet above the ground and 10 feet horizontally from a tree trunk (containers required in Yosemite).
  • No washing in lakes or streams. Scatter wash water at least 100 feet away from lakes or streams.
  • Bury poop 6-8 inched deep, at least 100 feet away from lakes, streams, campsites or trails.
  • Pack out all trash.
  • Maximum group size is 15 people, Yosemite has smaller group size.
  • No catching supplies or leaving equipment unattended for more than 24 hours.
  • No hitching, tethering or tying pack or saddle stock within 100 feet of lakes, streams, trails or campsites except while loading or unloading.
  • Overnight use requires a valid wilderness permit.
  • No discharging a firearm, except for emergencies or the taking of game as permitted by California State law.
  • No wheeled or mechanical devices (bicycle, drone, motorcycle, cart, etc.) except for persons requiring a wheelchair may use non-motorized wheelchair.
  • No shortcutting a switchback.
  • Dogs must be on leash (under voice control within 6 feet).
Closest Towns:
  • Lee Vining (gas, food, lodging)
  • Mammoth Lakes (full service)
Information Center:
  • Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center 760-647-3044
  • Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office 760-873-2483
  • Humboldt/ Toiyabe National Forest 760-932-7070



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