The United States Congress designated the Golden Trout Wilderness (map
) in 1978 and it now has a total of 303,511 acres
All of this wilderness is located in California
and is managed by the Forest Service.
The Golden Trout Wilderness is bordered by
the John Muir Wilderness
to the northeast, the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness
to the north, the South Sierra Wilderness
to the south, and the John Krebs Wilderness
to the northwest.
The brightly colored California state fish, the golden trout, lives in relative abundance in the waters of Golden Trout Wilderness, and special restrictions apply to anglers. A large drainage basin surrounded by high, jagged peaks dominates the western portion of the Wilderness in Sequoia National Forest. The eastern portion in Inyo National Forest is primarily an extension of the Kern Plateau. Pinion-pine woodlands rise to extensive Jeffrey pine forestland and meadows at middle elevations, and on to red fir, lodgepole pines, and foxtail pines at higher elevations before hitting the tree line. Two Wild and Scenic Rivers, the North and South Forks of the Kern River, flow across the area. The North Fork rages through stunningly beautiful country and offers one of America's premier multiday white-water adventures, a challenge for the most expert rafter. Summer thunderstorms are common, but water may be scarce away from the rivers during dry spells.
Several hundred miles of exceptionally scenic backpacking and horsepacking trails traverse the area. Popular trails include a forty-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Cottonwood Pass Trail, which crosses the Sierra and drops into the Kern River Canyon about 16 miles to the west.