Description - Formerly the Minarets Wilderness Area, in 1984 it was named in honor of the pioneering landscape photographer. This wilderness area is known for spectacular alpine scenery, sparkling lakes, and steep, rock-walled gorges. At 230,300 acres, this wilderness area is one of the bigger ones in California. The 13,157 foot Mt. Ritter, which along with the spires of the Minarets, challenge mountaineers. Several small glaciers are located on northern facing slopes, and scattered permanent snowfields highlight the alpine beauty of the peaks.
- Streams and lakes offer excellent fishing. The Pacific Crest and John Muir Trails cross the wilderness area for excellent hiking. This is a heavily used area and quotas are in effect from the last Friday in June through September 15. Visitor permits are required and reservations are advisable. Reservations are $3.00 per person. Wood fires are prohibited in some areas and firewood is scarce above 10,000 feet.
Recreation - Horseback riding, hiking, and backpacking are enjoyed on this wilderness area.
Climate - Weather conditions in the Sierra National Forest vary locally with elevation and exposure. Weather changes more rapidly and severely in the Forest's higher elevations. In general, temperatures in the Sierras drop three degrees with each 1000' of elevation gain.
Precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, much of it comes in the form of snow. Snowpack above 8000' can be 25 fee in the winter. Winter temperatures well below freezing and summer temperatures above 100 degrees indicate the normal seasonal spread. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season when venturing into the high country, with clothing that can be "layered", ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.
The Ansel Adams Wilderness Area is located in the northeast portion of the Forest. It overlaps with the Minarets and Pine Ridge Ranger Districts and Inyo National Forest.