Wade K. Belew
The United States Congress designated the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness (map
) in 1964 and it now has a total of 182,589 acres
All of this wilderness is located in California
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.
Located between the North and South Yolla Bolly Mountains in the as-rugged-as-it-comes headwater country of the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Eel River, Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness ranges in elevation from about 2,000 feet to 8,000 feet. The river crashes wildly through the Wilderness in a deep canyon for approximately six miles, and, combined with sections of the 48 miles of river outside the Wilderness, forms what is arguably California's finest long white-water run. Chamise and manzanita in the lower elevations give way to dense arrays of pine and fir cloaking numerous ridges. Vast grasslands open many of the steep hillsides. Summer wildflowers dramatically color large mountain meadows. Bear and deer populate the area in relative abundance, and September's hunting season brings the most human visitors. Water, unlike solitude, may be hard to find after midsummer. Most of the Wilderness stands on national forestland, but a section on the western side (7,100 acres) is situated on BLM land. An extensive and often strenuous trail system provides access in short loops and extended routes deep into the Wilderness. Light human use and suitable pathways make this an ideal destination for horsepackers. The Ides Cove Loop Trail rambles for over 10 miles through some of the best that Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel has to offer.