Carson-Iceberg Wilderness - Highway 4 Access

Area Status: Open




 The 161,000 acre Carson-Iceberg Wilderness straddles the crest of the Sierra Nevada range, divided almost evenly between the Stanislaus and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests. Here you'll find spectacular high country, with several peaks rising above 10,000 feet, broad river valleys, perennial creeks with small waterfalls, granite-strewn slopes, and meadow-filled valleys. Here are the headwaters of the East Fork of the Carson River, the Clark Fork of the Stanislaus, and the Mokelumne River. 

The Carson River, named for Kit Carson, and a distinctive granite formation called the Iceberg on the southern boundary give this area its name. You'll hike often in a thick forest of pines (Jeffrey, sugar, lodgepole, western white) and firs (red and white). Lakes, fairly common on the eastern side, are few and far between on the western side. Conversely, precipitation averaging 50 inches per year on the western slopes drops to about 15 inches per year on the eastern slopes, with about 80 percent falling as snow. Snowpacks usually linger into June, but the remainder of the summer is generally dry and mild with periodic afternoon thunderstorms and nighttime temperatures that could drop below freezing any day of the year.

Congress designated the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness in 1984. Most of the area still includes cattle grazing allotments, and you will likely encounter cows or their signs from July to September. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail runs for over 26 miles within the Carson-Iceberg. About 200 total miles of foot and horse trails give access to this outstanding wilderness, where human use is moderate, especially on the eastern side.

Please take a moment to learn our wilderness regulations and review Leave No Trace methods before visiting this outstanding national resource.




Purchase maps at any Stanislaus National Forest Ranger Station or the Forest Service online store .

View a  map of the wilderness.

View a  map of trail distances in the wilderness.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Calaveras Ranger District (HWY 4)
Operational Hours: Wilderness is accessible year-round. 
Permit Info: A Wilderness Visitor's Permit is required for overnight visits to the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Please take a moment to read the Wilderness Regulations.
Water: Filter or boil all lake and stream water
Restroom: Cathole method or Pack-out waste
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Please read the information about Traveling in Bear Country .  

General Information

General Notes:

For more information please visit the Stanislaus National Forest Recreational Opportunity Guides listed below:

[Symbol]: horseback 

For guide services contact: 

Kennedy Meadows Resort 

Operated under special use permit within the Stanislaus National Forest.




Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:


Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

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