Owens Peak Wilderness

Last updated
Owens Peak Wilderness
Owens Peak.jpg
Owens Peak
Usa edcp relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Location Kern / Inyo / Tulare counties, California, United States
Nearest city Ridgecrest, CA
Coordinates 35°43′01″N117°58′04″W / 35.71694°N 117.96778°W / 35.71694; -117.96778 Coordinates: 35°43′01″N117°58′04″W / 35.71694°N 117.96778°W / 35.71694; -117.96778
Area73,767 acres (298.52 km2)
Established1994
Governing bodyU.S. Bureau of Land Management
Owens Peak Wilderness wildflowers, 2017 Owens Peak Wilderness wildflowers 2017.jpg
Owens Peak Wilderness wildflowers, 2017

The Owens Peak Wilderness is a 73,767-acre (298.52 km2) [1] wilderness area comprising the rugged eastern face of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Owens Peak (8,445 ft) [2] is the high point. The land was set aside with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 (Public Law 103–433) by the US Congress.

Contents

The mountainous terrain has deep, winding, open and expansive canyons, many which contain springs with extensive riparian vegetation. This area is a transition zone between the Great Basin, Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada ecoregions. Vegetation varies considerably with a creosote desert scrub community on the bajadas, scattered yuccas, cacti, annuals, cottonwood and oak trees in the canyons and valleys and a juniper-pinyon woodland with sagebrush and digger/gray pine on the upper elevations.

Wildlife includes mule deer, golden eagle and prairie falcon. Evidence of occupation by prehistoric peoples has been found throughout the wilderness.

The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the wilderness along the crest and western side.

Area restoration

Starting in 1992, an ongoing effort to restore the environment in both the Kiavah and Owens Peak wilderness areas is being conducted by the University of California, Davis' Student Conservation Corps. By March 1997, 15 miles (24 km) of closed roads had been restored by relieving soil compaction with hand tools or a dozer-drawn ripper, installing waterbars, placing vertical mulch (woody debris and rocks) and scarifying disturbed area surfaces to increase water absorption and seed collection. Despite continued monitoring, illegal off-highway vehicle (OHV) use is a problem in some areas. [3]

Mountain peaks

Notes

Related Research Articles

Sierra Nevada Mountain range in the Western United States

The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Carson Range spur lies primarily in Nevada. The Sierra Nevada is part of the American Cordillera, an almost continuous chain of mountain ranges that forms the western "backbone" of the Americas.

Inyo County, California County in California, United States

Inyo County is a county in the eastern central part of the U.S. state of California, located between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the state of Nevada. In the 2020 census, the population was 19,016. The county seat is Independence. Inyo County is on the east side of the Sierra Nevada and southeast of Yosemite National Park in Central California. It contains the Owens River Valley; it is flanked to the west by the Sierra Nevada and to the east by the White Mountains and the Inyo Mountains. With an area of 10,192 square miles (26,397 km2), Inyo County is the second-largest county by area in California, after San Bernardino County. Almost one-half of that area is within Death Valley National Park. However, with a population density of 1.8 people per square mile, it also has the second-lowest population density in California, after Alpine County.

Ansel Adams Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Ansel Adams Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada of California, United States. The wilderness spans 231,533 acres (93,698 ha); 33.9% of the territory lies in the Inyo National Forest, 65.8% is in the Sierra National Forest, and the remaining 0.3% covers nearly all of Devils Postpile National Monument. Yosemite National Park lies to the north and northwest, while the John Muir Wilderness lies to the south.

Kings Canyon National Park National park in California, United States

Kings Canyon National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Fresno and Tulare Counties, California. Originally established in 1890 as General Grant National Park, the park was greatly expanded and renamed to Kings Canyon National Park on March 4, 1940. The park's namesake, Kings Canyon, is a rugged glacier-carved valley more than a mile (1,600 m) deep. Other natural features include multiple 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks, high mountain meadows, swift-flowing rivers, and some of the world's largest stands of giant sequoia trees. Kings Canyon is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park, and both parks are jointly administered by the National Park Service as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Sequoia National Park National park in the Sierra Nevada mountains, California, U.S.

Sequoia National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California. The park was established on September 25, 1890, to protect 404,064 acres of forested mountainous terrain. Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of, and contiguous with, Kings Canyon National Park; both parks are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. UNESCO designated the areas as Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976.

John Muir Wilderness Protected area in the Sierra Nevada of California, US

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. Established in 1964 by the Wilderness Act and named for naturalist John Muir, it contains 581,000 acres (2,350 km2). 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. 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.

Angeles National Forest National forest in California, United States

The Angeles National Forest (ANF) of the U.S. Forest Service is located in the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains, primarily within Los Angeles County in southern California. The ANF manages a majority of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Inyo National Forest

Inyo National Forest is a United States National Forest covering parts of the eastern Sierra Nevada of California and the White Mountains of California and Nevada. The forest hosts several superlatives, including Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States; Boundary Peak, highest point in Nevada; and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest that protects the oldest trees in the world. The forest, encompassing much of Owens Valley, was established by Theodore Roosevelt as a way of sectioning off land to accommodate the Los Angeles Aqueduct project in 1907, making the Inyo National Forest one of the least wooded forests in the United States' system.

Owens Peak

Owens Peak is the highest point in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains at more than 8,400 feet. The peak stands near the center of the Owens Peak Wilderness which was designated by United States Congress in 1994, and it now has a total of 74,060 acres (299.7 km2). The eastern watershed of Owens Peak is composed of three main canyons: Grapevine Canyon, Short Canyon, and Indian Wells Canyon. The Sierra Nevada meets the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert here, creating an unusual ecosystem.

Bright Star Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

Bright Star Wilderness is a 8,190-acre (3,314 ha) wilderness area in Kern County in the U.S. state of California.

Kiavah Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Kiavah Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area located in the Mojave Desert, Scodie Mountains, and southern Sierra Nevada in Kern County, California, United States. California State Route 178 connects the town of Lake Isabella to State Highway 14 in the east, crossing Walker Pass at the north boundary of the wilderness.

Sacatar Trail Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Sacatar Trail Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area located 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Ridgecrest, California USA. It was created in 1994 with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act - Public Law 103-433 - and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The wilderness is 51,900 acres (210 km2) in size and protects portions of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

South Sierra Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The South Sierra Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Southern Sierra Nevada, in eastern California. It is located 65 miles (105 km) northeast of Bakersfield, and is southwest of Owens Lake and Olancha.

Golden Trout Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Golden Trout Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada, in Tulare County and Inyo County, California. It is located 40 miles (64 km) east of Porterville, California within Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Forest.

Piper Mountain Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Piper Mountain Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area located in the White Mountains 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Big Pine, California in Inyo County, California.

Bucks Lake Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Bucks Lake Wilderness is a 23,958-acre (97.0 km2) wilderness area located in the Plumas National Forest section of the Sierra Nevada, in northeastern California, United States.

Mokelumne Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Mokelumne Wilderness is a 105,165-acre federally designated wilderness area located 70 miles (110 km) east of Sacramento, California. It is within the boundaries of three national forests: Stanislaus, Eldorado and Toiyabe. First protected under the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Mokelumne's borders were expanded under the California Wilderness Act of 1984 with the addition of 55,000 acres. The wilderness takes its name from the Mokelumne River, which was named after a Mi-wok Indian village located on the riverbank in California's Central Valley.

Chimney Peak Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Chimney Peak Wilderness is a 13,134-acre (53.15 km2) wilderness area located 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Ridgecrest, in southeastern Tulare County, California.

Cardinal Mountain

Cardinal Mountain is a 13,396-foot-elevation mountain summit located on the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in northern California. It is situated on the common border of Fresno County with Inyo County, as well as the shared boundary of John Muir Wilderness and Kings Canyon National Park. It is 14 miles (23 km) south-southwest of the community of Big Pine, approximately one mile north of Taboose Pass, and one mile south-southeast of Split Mountain, which is the nearest higher neighbor. Cardinal Mountain ranks as the 73rd highest summit in California. The first ascent of the summit was made August 11, 1922, by George Downing, Jr. The standard approach is via the Taboose Pass Trail, and the John Muir Trail passes west of this peak, providing an approach option to the mountain. The mountain's descriptive name was given by George R. Davis, a USGS topographer, on account of the brilliant red color of the roof pendant, like the red cap of a cardinal.

Giraud Peak

Giraud Peak is a 12,608-foot-elevation mountain summit located west of the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, in Fresno County of northern California, United States. It is situated in the Palisades area of northern Kings Canyon National Park, 3.0 miles (4.8 km) southwest of North Palisade, and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southwest of Columbine Peak, the nearest higher neighbor. Giraud Peak ranks as the 258th-highest summit in California. Topographic relief is significant as the west aspect rises 4,400 feet (1,340 meters) above LeConte Canyon in less than two miles. On the direct opposite side of the canyon The Citadel stands guard. The first ascent of the summit was made September 1, 1925, by Norman Clyde via the east arête.