Description - Established as a primitive area in 1931, the Marble Mountain area received Wilderness designation in 1953, establishing it as one of the earliest Wilderness areas in California.
The area where the Marble Mountains now exist was once part of a the flat bottom of an ancient, shallow ocean. Millions of years ago, violent volcanic upheavings and the erosive cutting action of rivers and glaciers combined to form the Marble Mountains. Marble Mountain itself is composed primarily of prehistoric marine invertebrates. Almost all the lakes of the Marble Mountains were formed by ancient glacial activity.
The colors of this wilderness area, from the majestic white of Marble Mountain, to the lush green of Morehouse Meadow, to the deep blue of Cliff Lake, interspersed with various hues of sheer rock cliffs and densely timbered mountainsides, provides a spectacle not soon to be forgotten.
The Marble Wilderness features an unparalleled diversity of plant life found nowhere else in the state. This 242,500 acre wilderness area spills over the boundaries of four ranger districts within the Klamath National Forest: the Salmon river, Scott River, Happy Camp, and Ukonom. The area is heavily forested, dotted with meadows, moderately used and easily traveled. Marble Mountain is host to 89 lakes which are stocked with trout. The larger streams have steelhead trout and salmon. Bear, deer, and other wildlife are plentiful. More species of conifers (17) live in proximity here than any place else in the world. These beautiful trees include the Brewer's or Weeping Spruce, Incense Cedar, Dwarf Juniper; White, Subalpine, and Shasta Red Fir; Engelmann Spruce, Western Hemlock, Pacific Yew; and Whitebark, Knobcone, Foxtail, Lodgepole, Sugar, Ponderosa, and Western White Pine. Study up on your cones and needle configurations before you go out, and see how many you can identify!
- There are ample opportunities for hiking, camping, backpacking, stock packing, and fishing throughout the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Some of the more popular backcountry attractions include the lake areas accessed via the Left Hand and Little North Forks of the Salmon River where trails up Garden Gulch and Devil's Canyon lead to a multitude of fishable lakes and streams. Also popular are the Big Meadows, Back Meadows, Red Rock Valley, and Marble Valley Areas which are easily accessed via the Lover's Camp, Boulder, and Shackleford Trailheads.
Recreation - Horseback riding, hiking, and backpacking are enjoyed on this wilderness area.
Climate - The climate in the Marble Wilderness, as in much of the Klamath National Forest, is greatly influenced by elevation. As throughout California, most of the precipitation comes between November and April in the form of rain at the lower elevations and some wet, heavy snow in the higher elevations. April through October are normally dry, with warm temperatures at the low elevations and moderate temperatures in the higher elevations.
Generally the lakes are free of ice by July, but a few patches of snow may remain along some trails. The weather through the summer is warm and mile, with an occasional brief thundershower. Snowstorms do now usually occur until after October 1 but should be anticipated any time after mid-September. Stock feed must be carried in before July 1.
This wilderness area is located at the heart of the Klamath National Forest of northwestern California. This 242,500 acre wilderness area contains the magnificent Marble Mountains and spills over the boundaries of four ranger districts within the Klamath National Forest: the Salmon River, Scott River, Happy Camp, and Ukonom. The Marble is situated directly west of the towns of Fort Jones, Etna, and Callahan on California Hwy. 3, and west of California Hwy. 96.