South Sierra Wilderness
Hiking & Horse Trails

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

| Location | Description | Fishing/Hunting | Trails | Ethics | Regulations | Additional Info |

Back to Hiking Menu Back to Hiking Guide Back to Hiking Menu Back to Horse Trail Guide

South Sierra Trail Information

South Sierra Wilderness is beautiful, but remember that it is also primitive, and you will be on your own! Before going in, check with the local Ranger Station for latest conditions and hazards.


South Sierra borders Golden Trout Wilderness on its northern boundary 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.

Back to Directory


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. Elevations range from 6,100 feet near Kennedy Meadows to the summit of Olancha Peak at 12,123 feet.

Back to Directory


Fishing and hunting is permitted under State regulations. There are over 25 miles of streams with unique South Fork Kern Golden Trout-subspecies of the California Golden Trout.

Back to Directory


Trails extend 30 miles for horse and hikers, including the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The trails leading out of Kennedy Meadows Campground into the South Sierra are the PCT and Wildrose Trail (36E01).

Back to Directory


Minimize impact by camping at least 100' from streams and trails. Pack out what you pack in. Bury body waste 6 inches deep. Keep fires small and leave them DEAD OUT by mixing ashes with water and soil. Do everything you can to protect water sources from contamination. PRACTICE LEAVE NO TRACE!


Visitors should not drink from creeks and springs without properly treating the water. Recommended treatment is to bring clear water to a rolling boil for 5 minutes or use a filter/purifying system.

Back to Directory


All mechanized equipment and vehicles, including mountain bikes, are prohibited within the Wilderness areas. A maximum group size of 15 people / 25 head of stock per party has been adopted. A visitor permit is not required for entering the Wilderness but a campfire permit is required for gas lanterns, stoves, and campfires. Please check with a National Forest office for current information, conditions, and regulations.

Back to Directory


Detailed road, trail, and topo maps for the South Sierra, Golden Trout, and Dome Land Wilderness areas are for sale at some of the following locations:

Kern River Ranger District
PO Box 6
105 Whitney Road
Kernville, CA 93238
(760) 376-3781 (Voice/ext. 202 TDD)
Lake Isabella Visitor Center
PO Box 3810
4875 Ponderosa Drive
Lake Isabella, CA 93240
(760) 379-5646 (Voice/TDD)
Inyo National Forest
Mt. Whitney Ranger District
PO Box 8
Lone Pine, CA 93545
(760) 876-6200
(760) 876-5542 (TDD)

Back to Directory

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.

Back to Directory

© 1995-2007 The Kern Valley Canyon Connection / M.L. Ludiker - All rights reserved.
You may printout trip information & maps for personal use only. Any and all other reproductions require written permission from copyright holder. E-mail requests to: