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South Fork Eel River Wilderness

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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 Wilderness is composed of two separate units: Red Mountain in the north and Cahto Peak in the south.

The Red Mountain unit is centered on Red Mountain and the Cedar Creek drainage. Elevations range from 1,100 feet on Cedar Creek to the 4,083 foot top of Red Mountain; separated by less than three miles. The terrain is generally steep and rugged drainages dropping abruptly into Cedar Creek canyon. A small area of gentle slopes is found around the summit of Red Mountain. A zone of reddish soil occupies the central part of the area and contrasts sharply with the surrounding landscape. These unusual soils support a unique vegetation cover of pine species and cypress intermixed with a low brush understory. Rare and endangered plant species also occupy this soil type.

The Cahto Peak unit is forested with Douglas fir forest. One of the watersheds in the unit is so pristine it has been designated a Biosphere Reserve, a National Natural Landmark, and a Hydrologic Benchmark.

Planning to Visit the South Fork Eel River 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 South Fork Eel River 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.