South Sierra Wilderness


South Sierra Wilderness straddles the crest of the Sierra Nevada at the southern end of the range. Lush green meadows nestle between forested ridges, rolling hills and craggy peaks. The Pacific Crest Trail and the South Fork of the Kern River run through the heart of South Sierra Wilderness. The South Fork of the Kern River is a National Wild and Scenic River and a popular destination for fisherman. Elevations range from 6,100 feet near Kennedy Meadows to 12,123 feet at the summit of Olancha Peak.

The South Sierra Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1984. Approximately half of its 62,700 acres are managed by the Inyo National Forest, while the rest is managed by the Sequoia National Forest. It is bordered by the Golden Trout Wilderness to the north. The South Sierra Wilderness is rugged and offers ample opportunities for solitude. Visitors must be self-reliant. Check with the local Ranger Station before your trip for information about conditions and hazards.

Download area map for trail names

South Sierra Wilderness Recreation Guide (pdf)

At a Glance

Permit Info:
  • Wilderness permits are optional in the South Sierra Wilderness, but are strongly recommended.
  • Permit required for trips traveling north of Olancha Peak into Golden Trout Wilderness.
  • Day use does not require a permit
  • Reserve permits online at www.Recreation.gov
  • Wilderness Regulations
Closest Towns:
  • Lone Pine, CA (full service, hospital)
  • Ridgecrest, CA (full service, hospital)
 
Information Center: Topographic Maps:
  • Tom Harrison: South Sierra Wilderness
  • USGS Quads: Long Canyon, Crag Peak, Monache Mountain, Haiwee Pass, Templeton Mtn.

General Information

General Notes:

Topographic Maps:

  • Tom Harrison: South Sierra Wilderness
  • USGS Quads: Long Canyon, Crag Peak, Monache Mountain, Haiwee Pass, Templeton Mtn., Olancha

To purchase maps or guidebooks goto esiaonline.com.


General Notes:

Map of South Sierra Wilderness


Activities

Backpacking

Hikers can access the South Sierra Wilderness from the following trails in the  Kern Plateau region of the Inyo National Forest:

General Info:

General Notes

Map of South Sierra Wilderness


Horse Riding

Stock users can access the South Sierra Wilderness from the following trails and trailheads:

General Info:

General Notes

Topographic Maps:

  • Tom Harrison: South Sierra Wilderness
  • USGS Quads: Long Canyon, Crag Peak, Monache Mountain, Haiwee Pass, Templeton Mtn., Olancha

To purchase maps or guidebooks goto esiaonline.com.


Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Highlights