Snow Mountain Wilderness

Snow Mountain Wilderness

Infobox Protected area
name = Snow Mountain Wilderness

iucn_category = Ib

caption = Top: Snow Mountain, East Peak, April, 2003
Bottom: Location of Snow Mountain Wilderness
locator_x = 9
locator_y = 62
location = Mendocino National Forest
nearest_city = Santa Rosa, California
lat_degrees= |lat_minutes= |lat_seconds= |lat_direction=
long_degrees= |long_minutes= |long_seconds= |long_direction=
area = convert|37679|acre|km2
established = 1984
visitation_num =
visitation_year =
governing_body = United States Forest Service
world_heritage_site =

The Snow Mountain Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area located convert|65|mi|km|0 north of Santa Rosa, California, USA in the Mendocino National Forest. The U.S. Congress passed the California Wilderness Act of 1984 which created 23 new wilderness areas including Snow Mountain. [ [ California Wilderness Act of 1984 on the National Park Service web site] ] It lies within the North Coast Range of mountains.

Elevations are from convert|1800|ft|m|-2 to convert|7056|ft|m|0. Total area of the wilderness portion is convert|37679|acre|km2|0|lk=on, also an adjacent roadless area of convert|2803|acre|km2|0. The wilderness covers the crest of this North Coast Range mountain divide for convert|13|mi|km|0 and the summit area includes two peaks, East (convert|7056|ft|m|0) and West (7,038 ft). [Adkinson, Ron " Wild Northern California", The Globe Pequot Press, pp.238-241, 2001]

On October 17, 2006 the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act was signed into law (Public Law No: 109-362) which added convert|23706|acre|km2 to the Snow Mountain Wilderness. [ [ "H.R. 233 (109th Congress): Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act" on] ]

The Trough Fire burned convert|24970|acre|km2 of Snow Mountain Wilderness and national forest land in August 2001. More than 12 million dollars was spent to contain the wildfire even though most of the area was within the wilderness boundary. This human-caused wildfire started near Fouts Springs, an off-road vehicle recreational area in Mendocino National Forest. [ [ "Trough Fire — California", Pacific Biodiversity Institute] ] ]

treams and waterways

The Middle and South Forks of Stony Creek flow down the east side of the divide. The west slopes are drained by the main Eel River and the Rice Fork of the Eel. Other tributaries are Bearwallow Creek and Thistle Glade Creek.Stony Creek has a self-sustaining population of wild rainbow trout.

Flora and fauna

More than 500 species of plants have been identified in the wilderness as well as 122 species of wildlife. The highest elevations have a subalpine environment with barren, rocky slopes and stunted red fir trees, while middle and lower elevations have stands of mixed conifers such as white fir, Jeffrey pine and incense cedar as well as black oak. Mountain-mahogany grows on exposed ridges in the wilderness and is a food source for the black-tailed deer.Other wildlife include black bear, mountain lion, spotted owl and game birds like California quail, sooty grouse and bandtailed pigeon.


Activities in the wilderness include day hiking, backpacking, skiing, fishing and horseback riding. The Forest Service encourages the practice of Leave No Trace principles of outdoor travel to minimize human impact on the environment.


There are convert|37|mi|km of maintained trails and convert|18.5|mi|km of unmaintained trails. Eight trailheads provide access with four of those being above convert|5000|ft|m. The lower elevation trails are Trout Creek and Bearwallow trail. The trailhead of Bearwallow begins on the east side of the wilderness and crosses the southern and western slopes of Saint John Mountain (6,746 ft).

The Milk Ranch Loop Trail is nine miles (14 km) long and crosses privately owned land of the Milk Ranch. Permission from the owner allows using the trail, but no camping.The name "Milk Ranch" comes from one of the first settlers to the mountain in the late ninteeth century, a Mrs. Tobobin who operated a dairy ranch in the meadow. In the spring the cows would be moved to this higher elevation meadow of the mountain and in autumn, the butter would be brought down to the towns of Williams and Willows to be sold. [Mauldin, Henry. "Mountains & Pioneers of Lake County", Earthen Vessels Productions, Inc, 1995, p.29]


External links

* [ The Mendocino National Forest/Snow Mountain webpage]
* [ The Bureau of Land Management's Leave No Trace training page]

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