Lassen County
Order Guide
Visitor Guide
CA 0
View Website
Ishi Wilderness
Almanor Ranger District
PO Box 767
Chester, CA 96020
(530) 258-2141
In the southern Cascade foothills, approximately twenty miles east of Red Bluff, California, lies the Ishi Wilderness, a unique 41,000 acre, low-elevation wilderness. This is a land incised by wind and water, dotted with basaltic outcroppings, caves, and bizarre pillar lava formations. This is up and down country, a series of east-west running ridges framed by rugged river canyons.

The sunburnt south slopes carry brush (a mixture of species called chaparral). Pines and oaks live on the moister north-facing slopes, and lusher riparian forests line the river banks. Unique to this area are the pineries, dense islands of ponderosa pine growing on terraces left after rivers cut the canyons.

The Ishi is named for a Yahi Yana Indian who was the last survivor of a tribe which lived in the area for over three thousand years. Shortly after 1850, the white settlers killed all but a handful of the Yahi. Ishi (the Yahi word for man) and a few others that escaped, hid for decades in this harsh wild country. Today, only what the Yahi left in the earth behind them remains to tell their story. When in the Wilderness, please respect that record. Remember that all archaeological and historical sites and artifacts are protected by federal law and should not be disturbed.

The Tehama deer herd, the largest migratory herd in California, winters in the area. Other wildlife include wild hog, mountain lion, black bear, coyote, bobcat and rabbit. Most of the Ishi Wilderness is also a State Game Refuge where hunting is not permitted.

Deer and Mill Creeks are home to many types of fish. However, special fishing regulations are in effect for these streams. Please check the State of California’s Fishing Regulations before fishing. A valid California fishing license is required.

Rock cliffs provide nesting sites for a variety of raptors including hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls. Other common sightings include wild turkey, quail, morning doves, canyon wrens, band-tailed pigeons, and myriad songbirds.

Things you might want to take along include waterproof matches, extra food, extra clothing, first aid kit, flashlight, space blanket (blanket made of light, heat reflective material), pocket knife, sunburn protection, insect repellent, toilet tissue, candle, compass and maps.

Water: Be prepared for bad weather. Even though Ishi’s climate is mild with little snow, there are a few winter days when the temperature drops below freezing. Hypothermia can be a concern in cold rains. Summers are blazing hot (often over 100 degrees) and inhospitable. Be sure to carry plenty of water. Check our Current Conditions page for forecasted weather.

Maps are the "street signs" of the wilderness. A topographical map is an essential backcountry "orienteering tool." The elevation lines tell the story of the land and can give you a mental picture of the area. If you become lost or disoriented, the best way to familiarize yourself with the lay of the land is to climb to the nearest ridge. Start by orienting your map to the north, by compass, and pinpointing your exact location. Identifying creek drainage's and their corresponding ridges will also help to keep your bearings.

Safety: Be aware! The low elevation and high temperatures of the wilderness make it the perfect environment for rattlesnakes, ticks and poison oak. Rattlesnakes are common during the late spring and summer months, and when temperatures soar, the snakes head toward the drainage's. Keep a watchful eye while hiking. Ticks are most active from April through October. Use insect repellentsspecifically labeled effective against ticks, check pets and brush off your clothing frequently. Ticks usually crawl around for several hours before "biting". Poison Oak is quite common in lower elevation woodlands and is most abundant in the spring. The best prevention is to avoid touching the plant and wearing a preventive lotion such as Tecnu®.

Campstove: Wood can be scarce in the Ishi, so camp stoves are recommended.

Water Filter: The crystal waters can be deceiving. They look clear, cold, and inviting but should never be taken for safe drinking water. Giardia is the hidden hazard. The best way to protect yourself from the microscopic organism is to carry a water filter with you. Boiling for three to five minutes will also destroy Giardia and other water organisms.

Shovel: Carry a small shovel for burying human waste, no deeper than six to eight inches. Here, nature provides a biologi

Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association
1699 HWY 273, Anderson, CA 96007 | (P) 530-365-7500 | (F) 530-365-1258