Ishi Wilderness


Almanor Ranger District Front Country

In the southern Cascade foothills, approximately twenty miles east of Red Bluff, California, lies the Ishi Wilderness, a unique 41,000 acre, low-elevation wilderness. This is a land incised by wind and water, dotted with basaltic outcroppings, caves, and bizarre pillar lava formations. This is up and down country, a series of east-west running ridges framed by rugged river canyons.

The Ishi is named for a Yahi Yana Indian who was the last survivor of his tribe, who lived in the area for over three thousand years. Shortly after 1850, the white settlers killed all but a handful of the Yahi. Ishi (the Yahi word for man) and a few others escaped and lived quietly for decades in this harsh, wild country.

When visiting the Wilderness, please respect this cultural heritage. Remember that all archaeological and historical sites and artifacts are protected by federal law and should not be disturbed.

The Tehama deer herd, the largest migratory herd in California, winters in the area. Other wildlife include wild hog, mountain lion, black bear, coyote, bobcat and rabbit. Most of the Ishi Wilderness is also a State Game Refuge where hunting is not permitted.

Deer and Mill Creeks are home to many types of fish. However, special fishing regulations are in effect for these streams. Please check the State of California's Fishing Regulations before fishing. A valid California fishing license is required.

Rock cliffs provide nesting sites for a variety of raptors including hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls. Other common sightings include wild turkey, quail, mourning doves, canyon wrens, band-tailed pigeons, and myriad songbirds.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: The area is not currently maintained, use at your discretion.
Operational Hours: The Ishi Wilderness is generally open year-round, although not always accessible due to snow and weather. 
Fees None.
Best Season: Spring
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: Include: campfires in fire rings or portable cookstoves only; no camping within 100' of water bodies; pack out trash; dogs must be on leash; 14 day maximum stay; maximum group size 25
Closest Towns: Chico, CA and Red Bluff, CA
Water: Non-potable
Restroom: None
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Almanor Ranger District


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