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Ishi Wilderness

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General Information

Description - The Ishi Wilderness is a unique, 41,000 acre, low-elevation wilderness. This is a land incised by wind and water, dotted with basaltic outcroppings, caves, and bizarre pillar lava formations. This is up and down country, a series of east-west running ridges framed by rugged river canyons. The sun burnt south slopes carry brush (a mixture of species called chaparral). Pines and oaks live on the moister north-facing slopes, and more lush riparian forests line the river banks. Unique to this area are the pine stands, dense islands of ponderosa pine growing on terraces left after rivers cut the canyons.

The Ishi is named for a Yahi Yana Indian who was the last survivor of a tribe which lived in the area for over three thousand years. Shortly after 1850, the white settlers killed all but a handful of the Yahi. Ishi (the Yahi word for man) and a few others that escaped, hid for decades in this harsh wild country. Today, only what the Yahi left in the earth behind them remains to tell their story.

When in the Wilderness, please respect that record. Remember that all archaeological and historical sites and artifacts are protected by federal law and should not be disturbed.

Attractions - The Ishi Wilderness offers opportunities for hiking, backpacking and horseback riding. As in all Wilderness Areas, motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited.

Leave No Trace: Lassen National Forest recommends the use of "NO TRACE" camping techniques. "NO TRACE" camping is an attitude that leads to enjoyment of the wilderness without changing or damaging it. Remember, "in the wilderness, you are the visitor."

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

Climate - As throughout much of California, most of the precipitation in the Lassen National Forest area comes during the winter months. Much of the precipitation comes in the form of snow in the high elevations. Snow covers much of the high elevations from late fall into spring. During years of heavy snowfall, the highest elevation roads and trails road may remains snowed in through June. Late spring through early fall normally brings mostly sunny skies with warm daytime temperatures and cool nighttime temperatures.

Be prepared for bad weather. Even though Ishi's climate is mild with little snow, there are a few winter days when the temperature drops below freezing. Hypothermia can be a concern in cold rains. Summers are blazing hot (often over 100 degrees) and inhospitable. Be sure to carry plenty of water.

Location - The Ishi Wilderness lies in the southern Cascade foothills, approximately twenty miles east of the town of Red Bluff.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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More Information

Additional Information:
Almanor Ranger District - The Almanor Ranger District encompasses the southern end of the Lassen National Forest, in northern California. It includes the area around Lake Almanor and south of Lassen Volcanic National Park.


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