The Comanche Peak Wilderness is part of the 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness"
as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964
. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques
when visiting the Comanche Peak Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.
General Wilderness Prohibitions
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.
In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the Forest Service office
or visit the websites listed
for more specific information.
These general prohibitions have been implemented for all national forest wildernesses in order to implement the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act requires management of human-caused impacts and protection of the area's wilderness character to insure that it is "unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness." Use of the equipment listed as prohibited in wilderness is inconsistent with the provision in the Wilderness Act which mandates opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation and that wilderness is a place that is in contrast with areas where people and their works are dominant.
Wilderness managers often need to take action to limit the impacts caused by visitor activities in order to protect the natural conditions of wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Managers typically implement 'indirect' types of actions such as information and education measures before selecting more restrictive measures. When regulations are necessary, they are implemented with the specific intent of balancing the need to preserve the character of the wilderness while providing for the use and enjoyment of wilderness.
The following wilderness regulations are in effect for this area. Not all regulations are in effect for every wilderness. Contact the Forest Service office
or visit the websites listed
for more specific information about the regulations listed.
-- Group size is limited to no more than a combination of 12 people and/or pack or saddle stock. Larger groups must obtain a permit prior to entering the Wilderness.
-- All campfires (other than in self-contained gas stoves) are prohibited within the Browns Lake, Comanche Lake, Emmaline Lake, Big South, and North Fork travel zones, and within 200 feet of any lake, stream, or trail.
-- Dogs must be leashed at all times.
-- Mechanical transportation (including wagons, game carts, or other vehicles) is prohibited.
-- Camping within 200 feet of any lake, stream, or trail is prohibited.
-- Camping outside designated campsites within the Brown's Lake, Emmaline Lake, Big South, or North Fork travel zones is prohibited. Tents must be within 30 feet of the designated campsite marker.
-- Camping with more than one group (maximum group size of 12 people) or more than three tents per site within Browns Lake, Comanche Lake, Emmaline Lake, Big South, or North Fork travel zones’ designated campsites is prohibited.
-- Possessing or using pack or saddle stock on the Emmaline Lake Trail (FDT #945) is prohibited.
-- Corralling, hobbling, tethering or picketing pack or saddle stock overnight within the Browns Lake, Comanche Lake, Emmaline Lake, or North Fork travel zones, and within 200 feet of any lake, stream, or trail is prohibited.
Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness