A geologically varied landscape of open alluvial basins, basaltic plateaus and granite ridges, the Granite Mountain Wilderness is an excellent Great Basin addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System. The sagebrush steppe habitat of the Granite Mountain Wilderness is currently underrepresented in the system. The area contains sage grouse, deer migration corridors, abundant raptor nesting sites and wild horses. The wilderness is home to an amazing diversity of terrain. Rounded, buff granite outcrops along steep ridge lines and as lone buttresses in alluvial flats, and dark, chunky basaltic flows form the high plateau of Cowtrack Mountain. Numerous archeological sites, many of which have already been disturbed by illegal artifact collection, are scattered throughout the pinyon-juniper woodland. Mono Lake Paiutes historically wintered here, on the east side of the lake, to escape the heavier snows nearer to the Sierra crest.
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 Granite Mountain Wilderness.
The Granite Mountain Wilderness is located east of Mono Lake along Highway 120 East just west of Adobe Valley.
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.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.
The diverse wild lands of the Granite Mountain Wilderness offer excellent opportunities for day hiking, backpacking and horseback riding. A climb up the nearly 9000 foot Granite Mountain or Horse Peak yields one of the most amazing views in the whole Eastern Sierra: a complete 360 degree vista encompassing the Sierran scarp, the volcanic Mono Craters and Glass Mountain, the rugged White Mountains, Adobe Valley, the Excelsior Range in Nevada, the Bodie Hills, and Mono Lake.
Well-used motorized routes form many of the wilderness boundaries, such as the Dobie Road on the east and Highway 120 on the south. Routes to popular hunting and car camping sites at the base of Granite Mountain are cherry-stemmed out of the wilderness.
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.