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Owens River Headwaters Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the Owens River Headwaters Wilderness (map) in 2009 and it now has a total of 14,698 acres. All of this wilderness is located in California and is managed by the Forest Service.


The Owens River Headwaters Wilderness was designated through President Obama's signing of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act on March 31, 2009. This 14,721 acre wilderness protects the headwaters of the Owens River, an area of forested mountains and alpine meadows on the east side of the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains between June Lake and Mammoth Lakes, California. This area contains exceptionally diverse landforms and habitat including the expansive subalpine Glass Creek Meadow, and the regions largest old growth red fir forest. The San Joaquin Ridge forms the western boundary of the wilderness, which is contiguous with the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The relatively low elevation ridge allows moisture from Pacific storms to carry over the mountains. The abundant moisture has created an island of wet meadows and forested ridges on the dry side of the Sierra Nevada. The natural beauty and ease of access make headwaters of the Owens River are an enticing recreation destination. The river and its tributaries are prized by anglers. The peaks and lakes along the San Joaquin Ridge are accessible by day-hikes. The diversity of habitats makes for an ideal area for nature study. And with abundant snowpack, the area is a favored locale for backcountry snow sports.

Planning to Visit the Owens River Headwaters 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 Owens River Headwaters 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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