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Snow Mountain Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the Snow Mountain Wilderness (map) in 1984 and it now has a total of 60,221 acres. All of this wilderness is located in California and is managed by the Forest Service.


Snow Mountain is the southernmost peak in the North Coast Range. In Snow Mountain Wilderness, you'll find the transition zone between the Coast Range and the lower valley foothills. Higher elevations are relatively flat and eroded, with some stands of red fir and large expanses of bare ground with trails that provide vast overlooks. Mid-elevations are covered in red, white, and Douglas fir and ponderosa pine growing on steep to very steep slopes dissected by stream-cut ravines. Chaparral brushlands and oak woodlands dominate the lowest elevations with many opportunities for relatively easy cross-country travel. The Middle Fork of Stony Creek forms the primary drainage, shadowed in many places by rocky bluffs. You'll see some areas recently burned by wildfire. One hundred twenty-two species of wildlife may be found in the Snow Mountain Wilderness, including deer, bear, mountain lions, eagles, and hawks. There are about 42 miles of trails suitable for horsepacker or backpacker. If you prefer horseback and less-visited places, you'll find the Snow Mountain Wilderness an exceptional choice. The Overlook Loop provides an excellent vantage point from which to survey the Wilderness: 6.5 miles across old burns, up to high vistas, down into Dark Hollow Creek, and back to the Summit Springs Trailhead.

Planning to Visit the Snow Mountain Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Snow Mountain Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

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