The Yahi Yana Indians lived in this region for over 3,000 years before white settlers arrived around 1850 and promptly exterminated all but the handful who escaped into the harsh and remote canyons of what today is known as Ishi Wilderness. Ishi, whose name is the Yahi word for "man," was the last survivor of the tribe. You may find evidence of the Yahi Yana who lived here, historic pieces of all that remains of these people, and you should leave what you find alone.
Carved by wind and water into basaltic outcroppings, caves, and bizarre pillars of lava, Ishi Wilderness is an up-and-down land of east-west ridges within rugged river canyons. Sun-washed south slopes support chaparral (a mixture of brushes). Pines and oaks grow on the north slopes, where more moisture collects. A lush riparian forest lines the rivers. The two creeks, Deer and Mill, represent the few remaining tributaries of the Sacramento River that still support runs of salmon and steelhead trout. The Tehama deer herd, the largest migratory herd in California, winters in this area, sharing the landscape with wild hogs, black bears, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, and rabbits. Several species of raptors nest on the rocky cliffs, and rattlesnakes are commonly seen in the warmer months.
Although many trails rated easy to difficult provide access to this Wilderness--some of which originated as Indian paths--human use is light. Mill Creek Trail follows the creek for 6.5 easy miles, offering magnificent views and many fishing and swimming holes. A small piece of the this wilderness is managed by the BLM Redding Field Office.
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 Ishi 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.