John Muir Wilderness

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John Muir Wilderness
Long Lake in Little Lakes Valley.jpg
Long Lake in Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness
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John Muir Wilderness (the United States)
Location Fresno / Inyo / Mono / Madera counties, California, United States
Nearest city Fresno, CA
Coordinates 36°58′33″N118°48′42″W / 36.97583°N 118.81167°W / 36.97583; -118.81167 Coordinates: 36°58′33″N118°48′42″W / 36.97583°N 118.81167°W / 36.97583; -118.81167
Area652,793 acres (2,641.76 km2) [1]
EstablishedJanuary 1, 1964
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The John Muir Wilderness is a wilderness area that extends along the crest of the Sierra Nevada of California for 90 miles (140 km), in the Inyo and Sierra National Forests. [2] Established in 1964 by the Wilderness Act and named for naturalist John Muir, it encompasses 652,793 acres (2,641.76 km2). [1] The wilderness lies along the eastern escarpment of the Sierra from near Mammoth Lakes and Devils Postpile National Monument in the north, to Cottonwood Pass near Mount Whitney in the south. [3] The wilderness area also spans the Sierra crest north of Kings Canyon National Park, and extends on the west side of the park down to the Monarch Wilderness.

Contents

Geography and geology

The wilderness contains some of the most spectacular and highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada, with 57 peaks over 13,000 feet (4,000 m) in elevation. [3] The peaks are typically made of granite from the Sierra Nevada Batholith, and are dramatically shaped by glacial action. The southernmost glacier in the United States, the Palisade Glacier, is contained within the wilderness area. [2] Notable eastside glaciated canyons are drained by Rock, McGee and Bishop Creeks. [3]

The Palisade Crest, a major rock-climbing area Palisade Crest.jpg
The Palisade Crest, a major rock-climbing area
Mount Williamson and Mount Tyndall in the John Muir Wilderness from near Independence Airport Williamson tree distant.jpg
Mount Williamson and Mount Tyndall in the John Muir Wilderness from near Independence Airport

The eastern escarpment in the wilderness rises from 6,000 to 8,000 feet (1,800 to 2,400 m) from base to peak, in 5 to 6 miles (8 to 10 km). [3] The Sierra crest contains peaks from 12,000 to 14,000 feet (3,700 to 4,300 m) in elevation, including Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States. Other notable mountains in the wilderness area include the Palisades and Mount Humphreys. Mount Muir is located 2 miles south of Mount Whitney. Mount Williamson is the second-highest peak in the wilderness, at 14,375 feet (4,382 m): it rises in one continuous sweep of granite from the floor of the Owens Valley to a peak just east of the main range.

Ecology

The John Muir Wilderness contains the largest contiguous area above 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in the continental United States. It contains large areas of subalpine meadows and fellfields above 10,800 feet (3,300 m), containing stands of whitebark and foxtail pine. [3] From 9,000 feet (2,700 m) to 10,800 feet (3,300 m), the wilderness is dominated by lodgepole pines. Below the lodgepole forest is forest dominated by Jeffrey pine. [4]

Common animals in the wilderness include yellow-bellied marmots, pikas, golden-mantled ground squirrels, Clark's nutcrackers, golden trout, and black bears. [3] The wilderness area also includes California bighorn sheep zoological areas, which are set aside for the protection of the species.

Recreation

Sabrina Basin in the John Muir Wilderness. Winter lingers until June in most years. SabrinaBasin.jpg
Sabrina Basin in the John Muir Wilderness. Winter lingers until June in most years.

The wilderness contains 589.5 miles (948.7 km) of hiking trails, [3] including the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, which run through the wilderness from north to south. The John Muir Wilderness is the second most-visited wilderness in the United States, and quota are required for overnight use on virtually all trailheads. [3]

Lakes

Blue Lake in the Sabrina Basin Blue Lake, Sabrina Basin.jpg
Blue Lake in the Sabrina Basin

See also

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Inyo National Forest

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Mount Gayley

Mount Gayley is a 13,510-foot-elevation mountain summit located one mile east of the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Inyo County, California, United States. It is situated in the Palisades area of the John Muir Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is approximately 13 miles (21 km) west-southwest of the community of Big Pine, 0.67 miles (1.08 km) southwest of Temple Crag, and 0.5 miles (0.80 km) north-northeast of parent Mount Sill. Mount Gayley ranks as the 59th highest summit in California.

Picture Puzzle

Picture Puzzle, also known as Picture Puzzle Peak, is a 13,297-foot-elevation mountain summit located one mile east of the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Inyo County of northern California, United States. It is situated in the Palisades area of the John Muir Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is approximately 14.5 miles (23.3 km) west of the community of Big Pine, one mile north of Bishop Pass, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) north-northwest of Mount Agassiz, and 1.1 miles (1.8 km) south-southwest of parent Cloudripper. Picture Puzzle ranks as the 90th highest summit in California, and the third highest peak of the Inconsolable Range.

Thor Peak (California)

Thor Peak is a 12,306-foot-elevation (3,751 meter) mountain summit located east of the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Inyo County, California. It is situated in the John Muir Wilderness on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is 12.5 miles (20.1 km) west of the community of Lone Pine, and 1.5 mile east of Mount Whitney. Topographic relief is significant as it rises 3,937 feet (1,200 meters) above Whitney Portal in 1.5 mile. Hikers on the Mount Whitney Trail pass below the impressive south face of the peak.

Cirque Peak (California) Mountain summit in California

Cirque Peak is a 12,900-foot-elevation (3,932 meter) mountain summit located on the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. It is situated on the common border of Tulare County with Inyo County, as well as the shared boundary of Golden Trout Wilderness and John Muir Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is 14 miles (23 km) southwest of the community of Lone Pine, 7.7 miles (12.3 km) south-southeast of Mount Whitney, and 3.2 miles (5.2 km) south of Mount Langley, the nearest higher neighbor. Cirque Peak is the highest point of the Golden Trout Wilderness, and ranks as the 175th highest peak in California. Topographic relief is significant as it rises 1,800 feet (550 meters) above Cirque Lake in approximately one mile. The Pacific Crest Trail traverses the southwest slope of this mountain, providing an approach option. The mountain was apparently named in 1890 by Joseph Nisbet LeConte and companions who noted the remarkable cirque on the north aspect.

The Thumb (California)

The Thumb is a 13,356-foot-elevation mountain summit located on the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, in Inyo County of northern California. It is situated in the Palisades area of the John Muir Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is 1.3 mile (2.1 km) east of Middle Palisade, and 1.6 mile (2.6 km) west-northwest of Birch Mountain. The Thumb ranks as the 83rd-highest summit in California. Topographic relief is significant as the east aspect rises over 2,500 feet (770 meters) above Birch Lake in approximately one mile. The John Muir Trail traverses below the southwest aspect of the mountain, providing an optional approach access.

References

  1. 1 2 "John Muir Wilderness". wilderness.net. Retrieved 2021-11-16.
  2. 1 2 "United States Forest Service". 2006. p. Inyo National Forest Wilderness Areas.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Adkinson, Rod (2001). Wild Northern California . The Globe Pequot Press. ISBN   1-56044-781-8.
  4. Schoenherr, Allan A. (1992). A Natural History of California . University of California Press. ISBN   0-520-06922-6.