Monache Meadows
Hiking & Horse Trails

Information & Maps provided by US Forest Service / Department of Agriculture

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Monache Meadows Information

Monache Meadow is bordered on the west by Kingfisher Ridge and to the north by Brown Mountain, both of which lie within the Golden Trout Wilderness. Twelve thousand foot Olancha Peak dominates the eastern skyline and forms a portion of the South Sierra Wilderness. The stream flowing southward through Monache is the South Fork of the Kern River.

Few areas provide better opportunities for viewing mule deer. Other animals likely to be seen include marmot, squirrel, and coyote. Sightings of red fox, pine marten, black bear and mountain lion are possible. Bird life is abundant and includes many songbirds, waterfowl, and predator species. Hunters consult California Department of Fish and Game Regulations. Target shooting is confined to safe areas. Common sense should dictate when and where this is proper.

At Monache Meadow you can expect warm days and cool nights with possible afternoon thunderstorms. Fall brings cool days with below freezing night time lows.


Cattle grazing has been a part of the local scene for a hundred years or more. Most present day trails were originally established by stockmen many years ago before areas were designated as Wilderness areas. The "old west" culture that developed with livestock grazing represents a major formative element of the American Character. This culture survives today, not as a museum exhibit, but as a vital, active and unique component of the area. It is perpetuated by present day cattlemen as they drive their cattle over historic trails, use packstock to supply cowcamps built of native materials and cook over woodstoves by lantern light. They generally conduct livestock operations as their ancestors did in the 1800's, with same important exceptions. Livestock operations are now controlled by a permit system based on guidelines established in Grazing Allotment Management Plans and Forest land and Resource Management Plans. Each summer Owens Valley ranchers under Special Use Permits utilize the forage available in Monache and elsewhere on the Kern Plateau.

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From the East-turn west from Hwy. 395 at the Kennedy Meadows turnoff and follow signs to the Forest Service Information Station at Blackrock. From the West- from Kernville north to the Sherman Pass Road to the Forest Service Blackrock Information Station then up the road (north) 3.3 mi. and turn right at the Monache Jeep Road sign. From here it's 3.5 miles to the Monache turnoff.

Roads are generally open from mid-June to early November. Call Cannell Meadow Ranger District in Kemville (760) 376-3781 for confirmation.

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Wild stocks of german brown and hybrid golden/rainbow trout inhabit local streams. For season and limit contact State Fish and Game or area ranger.

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Even though Monache Meadows is not a designated wilderness area, it is bordered by the Golden Trout Wildemess and the South Sierra Wilderness. All mechanized vehicles and equipment are prohibited within the Wildemess areas. A maximum group size of 15 people / 25 head of stock per party has been adopted. If your trip takes you into the Golden Trout Wilderness area, you must obtain a Visitors Permit and a Campfire Permit. These permits are free and can be obtained from Inyo or Sequoia National Forest offices.

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Camping close to water restricts stream access, damages vegetation and can contribute to stream pollution. Concentrated camping in meadows damages ground cover and detracts from the visual enjoyment of others. Whenever possible, use established campsites. Always try to pick a site at least 100 ft.- 35 long paces - from water sources and meadows. Never camp closer than 25 feet - 9 long paces - from water and meadows. (36CFR 261.58 e).

CAMPFIRES: Use water, not dirt, to thoroughly extinguish campfires. A dirt cover causes the next user to add on to the existing fire pit, or build another. Never leave a fire unattended and make sure its out before you leave camp (36CFR 261.5 d). Keep fires small. Don't place cans, bottles, or foil in the fire pit (36CFR 261.11 d). Use only dead and down wood and remember, a campfire permit is required.

WATER: Giardia or other waterborn parasites can be a problem. Boil drinking water for at least 5 minutes, use a purification system or bring your own drinking water.

LEAVE NO TRACE! Minimize impact by camping at least 100 feet (35 long paces) from streams, lakes, and trails, Pack out all you pack in.

HUMAN WASTE: Human waste can be a serious health problem unless carefully disposed of. Choose a spot at least 100 ft. (35 long paces) from any surface water or campsite and away from locations where rain or snowmelt can carry contaminates to wet areas. Dig a 6 to 8 in. hole to bury waste. Larger parties should use a common latrine, placing dirt over contents after each use.

TRASH: Take everything home. Trash bags are usually provided at the information stations.

EMERGENCIES: A Forest Service Wildemess Patrol Person is assigned to Monache. Ranger quarters can be located by following the road along the east edge of Bakeoven sand dune. A primitive mountain phone links local cow camps with the town of Lone Pine.

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Driving off the established roadway damages or destroys vegetation. Wheel tracks in boggy or sandy areas last a long time (a full season or more) and detract from the naturalness of the area (36CFR 261.56, 36CFR 261.55 b) Take vehicles no more than 15 ft.- 5 long paces- from the established roadway (36CFR 261.56). When camping or picnicking, park by the roadside and carry gear to the site. Keep driving speeds reasonable, especially when passing campsites. The Bakeoven dune area at the upper end of Monache is an unusual formation with an extremely fragile ecosystem. Off-road tire marks made here can last for years unless carefully raked out. Motorcycles must have an approved spark arrester and current greensticker. Driving beyond the sign at Kingfisher stringer is prohibited (36 CFR 261.54 e).

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RECOMMENDED MAPS USGS: (15 minute quad), Monache Mountain (available at many sporting goods stores). Golden Trout and South Sierra Wildemess, Blackrock Information Center or Lone Pine ($2.15 plus 1.00 postage).

Inyo National Forest
Mt. Whitney Ranger District
PO Box 8
Lone Pine, CA 93545
(760) 876-6200
(760) 876-5542 (TDD)

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs and marital or familial status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA Office of Communication at (202) 720-5881 (voice) or (202) 720-7808 (TDD).
To file a complaint, write the Secretary of Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., 20250, or call (202) 720-7327 (voice) or (202) 720-1127 (TDD). USDA is an equal employment opportunity employer.

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© 1995 The Kern Valley Canyon Connection / M.L. Ludiker - All rights reserved.
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