Description - Vegetation in the Snow Mountain Wilderness ranges from chaparral on the low elevation slopes to black oak and mixed conifer at the mid-elevations. In the crest zone, thick stands of true fir, weather-shaped Jeffrey pine and incense cedar exist around natural openings of bare rock and erosion pavement. At the dry lower slopes hikers will find scattered patches of lupine, golden eardrops, coyote mint and India paintbrush. As hikers progress up, they will encounter scattered moist meadows and streams which are accented by scarlet and yellow monkey flowers and other colorful moist-site herbs. As they reach the exposed rocky ridges, wild buckwheat, penstemon, wild onion, purple monkey flowers and pussy paws are more common.
The moderate hike to the top of East Peak affords visitors a magnificent view of the Sacramento Valley and the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east, Clear Lake to the southwest, Coastal Mountains to the west, and the timbered mountains of the Mendocino National Forest to the north.
The best time to visit Snow Mountain Wilderness is from early spring to late summer. Snow usually lingers on the high crest-zone until late June. Bathhouse, Trout Creek, Deafy Glade and Bear Wallow Trails can offer exhilarating, snow-free winter hikes.
Wilderness permits are not required, but the Forest Service asks that you sign the register at the trailheads. However, campfire permits are necessarily and are available at no charge.
- In the Snow Mountain Wilderness Area, 52 miles of trails are concentrated in the crest zone above the 6,000 feet elevation. This leaves a vast amount of acreage very remote and highly conducive to cross-country exploration.
The Snow Mountain Wilderness Ranges in elevation from 1,800 feet in the gorge of the Middle Fork of the Stony Creek to 7,056 feet on the summit of East Peak. The deep canyons skirting Snow Mountain compress ecological life zones creating a unique biological sky-island.
Recreation - Horseback riding, hiking, and backpacking are enjoyed on this wilderness area.
Climate - The climate on the Mendocino is greatly influenced by elevation. As throughout California, most of the precipitation comes between November and April. This comes 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 to hot temperatures at the low elevations and moderate temperatures in the higher elevations.
Snow Mountain Wilderness Area straddles the summit of the Northern Interior Coast Ranges within Colusa, Glenn and Lake Counties. The area is less than a four-hour drive from San Francisco, Santa Rosa and Sacramento.
The central feature of this Wilderness Area is the large, broad topped Snow Mountain, which drains water toward the Sacramento River on the east and the Eel River Basin on the West.
The Snow Mountain Wilderness Area is located north of Clear Lake, west of Stonyford and east of Redwood Valley.