The brightly colored California state fish, the golden trout, lives in relative abundance in the waters of Golden Trout Wilderness, and special restrictions apply to anglers. A large drainage basin surrounded by high, jagged peaks dominates the western portion of the Wilderness in Sequoia National Forest. The eastern portion in Inyo National Forest is primarily an extension of the Kern Plateau. Pinion-pine woodlands rise to extensive Jeffrey pine forestland and meadows at middle elevations, and on to red fir, lodgepole pines, and foxtail pines at higher elevations before hitting the tree line. Two Wild and Scenic Rivers, the North and South Forks of the Kern River, flow across the area. The North Fork rages through stunningly beautiful country and offers one of America's premier multiday white-water adventures, a challenge for the most expert rafter. Summer thunderstorms are common, but water may be scarce away from the rivers during dry spells. Several hundred miles of exceptionally scenic backpacking and horsepacking trails traverse the area. Popular trails include a forty-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Cottonwood Pass Trail, which crosses the Sierra and drops into the Kern River Canyon about 16 miles to the west.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Golden Trout Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.