Mokelumne Wilderness

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

The 105,165 acre Mokelumne Wilderness straddles the crest of the central Sierra Nevada, within the Stanislaus, Eldorado, and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests. Located south of the Lake Tahoe Basin, this area lies within portions of Calaveras, Alpine, and Amador Counties and is bordered by Highway 4 on the south and Highway 88 on the north.  The Mokelumne Wilderness is a rugged landscape of great scenic beauty.  Much of the area is dominated by volcanic ridges and peaks.  Many small streams flow through deep granitic canyons but only a few lakes are concentrated in the northern portion of this spectacular area. Elevations range from about 3900 feet near Salt Springs Reservoir to 10,380 feet at Round Top.  Precipitation averages 50 inches annually on the west slope and as little as 15 inches on the east slope, 80 percent of it in the form of snow.  Snowcaps typically linger into June in the Round Top region to the north and on the Mokelumne Plateau to the south, while the Mokelumne River Canyon above Salt Springs Reservoir can be free of snow as early as March. Summers are generally dry and mild, but afternoon thundershowers occur periodically and nighttime temperatures may dip below freezing anytime.

At a Glance

Fees Fees are not presently required for day or overnight use in the Mokelumne Wilderness.
Permit Info: Permits are required for overnight camping.  Permits are not required for day hikes.
Usage: Medium
Restrictions: A wilderness permit is required for entry and a campfire permit is required for a campfire.  Campfires are prohibited above 8,000 feet, Carson Pass Management Area, North Fork Mokelumne River Canyon along Salt Springs Reservoir, Blue Hole Trail. Travel is restricted to horseback or foot only.  All means of mechanical transportation, including bicycles, are prohibited in wilderness.  Wheelchairs are allowed. Visitors are required to bury human waste 6 to 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.  Maximum group size 12 people for day use, and 8 people for overnight use.  Domestic pets are allowed in the Mokelumne Wilderness at this time.  The Amador and Alpine County leash laws are enforced inside the Wilderness Boundary.
Closest Towns: South Lake Tahoe, California
Water: Water in the Sierra may be contaminated by Giardia lambia & Crytosporidium, which may cause illness.
Operated By: The Mokelumne Wilderness is co-managed by the Eldorado and the Stanislaus National Forests.

General Information


Trailheads are accessible from the Carson Pass area of Highway 88 on the northern boundary and Highway 4 on the southern end.


Camping & Cabins

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Nature Viewing

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Areas & Activities



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Elevations in the Mokelumne Wilderness range from 3900 foot valleys to 9000 foot peaks.


Color graphic of the Travel Management logo featuring a drawing of a trail next to stream and trees.

Travel Management: A Program for Motor Vehicle Route Designation

Buy it where you burn it!

Be aware that firewood can harbor insects and diseases that threaten valuable forest resources. Transporting firewood can move these pests to new locations.