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Golden Trout Wilderness

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A man standing near a waterfall, surrounded by natural piles of large textured rock.
Library image #7: Man standing near Templeton Fish Barrier.


The United States Congress designated the Golden Trout Wilderness (map) in 1978 and it now has a total of 303,770 acres. All of this wilderness is located in California and is managed by the Forest Service. The Golden Trout Wilderness is bordered by the John Muir Wilderness to the northeast, the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness to the north, the South Sierra Wilderness to the south, and the John Krebs Wilderness to the northwest.


The brightly colored California state fish, the golden trout, lives in relative abundance in the waters of Golden Trout Wilderness, and special restrictions apply to anglers. A large drainage basin surrounded by high, jagged peaks dominates the western portion of the Wilderness in Sequoia National Forest. The eastern portion in Inyo National Forest is primarily an extension of the Kern Plateau. Pinion-pine woodlands rise to extensive Jeffrey pine forestland and meadows at middle elevations, and on to red fir, lodgepole pines, and foxtail pines at higher elevations before hitting the tree line. Two Wild and Scenic Rivers, the North and South Forks of the Kern River, flow across the area. The North Fork rages through stunningly beautiful country and offers one of America's premier multiday white-water adventures, a challenge for the most expert rafter. Summer thunderstorms are common, but water may be scarce away from the rivers during dry spells. Several hundred miles of exceptionally scenic backpacking and horsepacking trails traverse the area. Popular trails include a forty-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Cottonwood Pass Trail, which crosses the Sierra and drops into the Kern River Canyon about 16 miles to the west.

Planning to Visit the Golden Trout 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 Golden Trout 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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