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Golden Trout Wilderness

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General Information

Description - The Golden Trout Wilderness Area lies at the southern edge of the Inyo National Forest southwest of Lone Pine and is host to a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. The western part of the wilderness is a large drainage basin surrounded by high, rugged mountains. The eastern portion is an extension of the Kern Plateau. Varied wildlife and vegetation can be found throughout the extensive forests and meadows of the Golden Trout.

Despite frequent summer thunderstorms, the best time to travel in this area is June through October. Water is quite limited during dry periods, so come prepared. Firewood, also, is scarce at elevations above 10,000 feet. Stock forage is plentiful after the first of July.

This wilderness area is a great spot for novice backpackers and stock users. There is heavy use near the Burnt Corral crossing of Little Kern, Little Kern Bridge, Forks of Kern, Coyote Lakes, Maggie Lakes, Rattlesnake Trail, and Kern Flat Trail. Special DFG fishing rules exist to the east of the Kern River. Visitor permits are required.

Attractions - Backcountry recreation opportunities abound in the Golden Trout. Whether you are an angler, a stockman, or a backpacker, this wilderness is light on roads and heavy on trails and off-road opportunities. Wilderness topographic maps (combined Golden Trout/ South Sierra) are available at visitor centers for $2.00.

Recreation - Horseback riding, hiking, and backpacking are enjoyed on this wilderness area.

Climate - Deep snow often covers the middle elevations from December to May, but subzero temperatures are rare. Precipitation falls mostly between January and mid-May, but thunderstorms, rain and even snow can occur at any time of year.

Temperatures vary with elevation. In the summer, daytime temperatures often exceed 100 degrees F in the foothills, but seldom exceed 90 degrees at higher elevations. Even in the summer, backpackers in the high country can encounter nighttime temperatures in the low 30's, and occasionally even in the 20's. In any season, it is wise to bring clothing that can be "layered". Always include some kind of rain gear.

Location - The Golden Trout Wilderness Area lies at the southern edge of the Inyo National Forest to the south and west of the town of Lone Pine. It runs along the western edge of US Hwy. 395 and lies to the south of Kings Canyon National Park.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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More Information

Additional Information:
Mt. Whitney Ranger District - At 14,495 feet, Mount Whitney soars over this district in the west while the remote Golden Trout Wilderness area sprawls across it in the south.
Tule River Ranger District - Tule River Ranger District offers numerous trails and campgrounds amid some of California's finest scenery, which includes the renowned giant sequoias.


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