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ActivitiesSouth Sierra Wilderness

SOUTH SIERRA WILDERNESS

California Poppies growing in Mammoth Lakes South Sierra Wilderness borders the Golden Trout Wilderness on its northern side and Dome Land Wilderness on the south, except for the Kennedy Meadows Road corridor. It is all within the South Fork of the Kern River watershed.

Eastside access is via Nine Mile Canyon Road (J41) from US Highway 395 to Kennedy Meadows Road. From the west, access is from Tulare County Road M99 via Forest Road 22S05 over Sherman Pass. At Blackrock Information Center, forest roads will take you to trails at Albanita. Broder, and Lost Meadows. The Monache Meadow area also has trails into South Sierra from the north.

Fragile meadowlands, diversity of flora and fauna between forested ridges, rolling hills, and craggy, steep peaks describe this Wilderness. A relatively gentle terrain area of 24,650 acres on the Sequoia National Forest portion is ideally suited to family oriented recreation. The more adventurous can frequent the 38,350 acres along the Sierra Crest on the Inyo Forest which completes the new 63.000 acre South Sierra Wilderness. Exposed rock is mostly granitic with some volcanic features.

TRAIL SUMMARY
TRAILHEAD ELEVATION - 6,100 at Kennedy Meadows
HIGHEST ELEVATION - 12,123 at Olancha Peak
TRAIL DIFFICULTY - Easy to Strenuous
SEASON - Open year-round, but the best hiking season is May through Oct.

The 82,300-acre South Sierra Wilderness straddles the Sierra Nevada Crest at the southern end of the range. The terrain is steep and dissected, but includes parts of the large Monache/Beck Meadow complexes. The relatively gentle terrain on the Sequoia National Forest side of the wilderness is ideally suited to family oriented recreation. The more adventurous can frequent the area along the Sierra Crest in the Inyo National forest. The South Fork of the Kern and a few other perennial streams cross the area, but most streams are intermittent and much of the area is arid. The vegetation of the east side of the wilderness is mainly pinion juniper with mixed pine at high elevations. Varying mixtures of Lodgepole, Jeffrey pine, and red and white fir is found on the west side. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses from north to south.

OLANCHA PASS TRAILHEAD

From Lone Pine, drive about 28 miles south on Highway 395 to Sage Flat Road and turn right. Drive about 5 miles west on Sage Flat Road to the trailhead for Olancha Pass. Trailhead parking is available. Another access road to the wilderness can be found by driving 4 miles south of the Sage Flat Road turnoff on Highway 395 to Haiwee Canyon Road and turning right. Drive about 2.8 miles to trailhead parking and hike into the wilderness.

East side access is via Nine Mile Canyon Road (J41) from US Hwy. 395 to Kennedy Meadows Road. From the west, access is from Sherman Pass. At Blackrock Station, forest roads will take you to the Albanita, Broder and Lost Meadows. The Monache Meadow area also has trails on South Sierra from the North. Trails extend 30 miles for horses and hikers including the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT). The trails leading out of Kennedy Meadows Campground into the South Sierra use the PCT and Wildrose Trail.

For More Information
Mt. Whitney Ranger Station
P.O. Box 8; Lone Pine, CA 93545
760-876-6200
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