The United States Congress designated the South Fork Eel River Wilderness (map
) in 2006 and it now has a total of 12,868 acres
All of this wilderness is located in California
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
The South Fork Eel River is a principal tributary of the Eel River. The South Fork Eel River Wilderness is comprised of sections of the BLM's Red Mountain and Cahto Peak units.
The Red Mountain unit is dominated by Red Mountain and the Cedar Creek drainage. Elevations range from 1,100 feet at the southwest end along Cedar Creek to 4,083 feet, less than three miles away at the top Red Mountain. Terrain is generally steep, consisting of rugged drainages dropping abruptly into Cedar Creek canyon. A small area of fairly gentle slopes is found near the summit. A zone of reddish soil occupies the central part of the area and contrasts sharply with the surrounding landscape. These unusual soils have resulted in a unique vegetation cover of several species of pine and cypress trees intermixed with a low brush understory. Rare and endangered plant species occupy the landscape covered by these ultrabasic soils.
The Cahto Peak unit is comprised of several Douglas fir forest watersheds, one of which is so pristine that it has been designated a Biosphere Reserve, a National Natural Landmark, and a Hydrologic Benchmark. Much of the area is designated a Research Natural Area / Area of Critical Environmental Concern.