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Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel
Shasta-Trinity National Forests
2400 Washington Avenue
Redding, CA 96001
(530) 246-5222
(530)242-2237 (TTY)

Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel

In the Wintun Indian language, "Yo-la" meant "snow covered", and "Bo-li" meant "high peak." The second part of this Wilderness' name refers to the headwaters of the Middle Fork Eel River, which originates in this remote and rugged land.

This area was first protected in 1931 when it was classified as a primitive area. Further protection was given when this area became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, created by the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The California Wilderness Act of 1984 added another 2,000 acres to the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, for a total of about 150,000 acres.

The Wilderness is roughly oval in shape, being about 19 miles long in the north-south direction and 24 miles wide in the east-west direction. The majority of the Wilderness lies in two districts of the Mendocino National Forest (Covelo and Grindstone Ranger Districts). The far northern portion of the Wilderness is in the Yolla Bolla Ranger District of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. To the far west, a part of the Wilderness is in the Mad River Ranger District of the Six Rivers National Forest, and the BLM has a small portion of the Wilderness (also on the western edge).

The lowest point of the Wilderness is along Cottonwood Creek (2600' elevation). This is just four and a half miles from the highest point, Mt. Linn, at an elevation of 8092 feet. Several other peaks push their way above 7000 feet and provide fine views (weather and smoke permitting) of Mount Lassen, Mount Shasta, the Trinity Alps, the Kings Range and sometimes the Pacific Ocean.

The forests in this Wilderness are extensive. The principle species are red fir, white fir, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and incense cedar. Less common species are juniper, foxtail pine, hemlock, Jeffrey pine, western white pine, black cottonwood, and a rare yew. Other cover types include grasslands--locally known as "glades", wet and dry meadows, oak woodlands and brush lands.

The Yolla Bolly - Middle Eel Wilderness, like the rest of the Coast Range, provides quite a wealth of wildlife. The more abundant game species are: the Columbia black tail deer, black bear, wild turkey, gray squirrel, grouse, and quail. Other animals that live in the Wilderness are mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, ring-tailed cats, raccoons, marten, otters, weasels, chipmunks, and numerous other small species. Eagles, hawks, turkey vultures, and multitude of other bird life find summer homes in this Wilderness (including the Northern Spotted Owl).

Permits and Access

Wilderness permits are not required for day-use or overnight trips into the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness Area. Campfire permits are required in the Wilderness if you plan to have a campfire or use a stove of any kind. Campfire permits are available from any Ranger Station. Fire restrictions can come into effect during the summer, limiting the use of open fires and stoves - - check with any Ranger Station before entering the wilderness.

There is road access to or near the Wilderness boundary on every side. From the west side, via Highways 101 and 162, you will travel through Longvale, Covelo, Eel River Work Center, and then north to the Indian Dick area -- a total distance from Highway 101 of about 75 miles (three hours travel time.) Access from the west is also possible by the way of Ruth and the Jones Ridge Road through Six Rivers National Forest.

From the Sacramento Valley, you may reach the Wilderness by turning west at Willows, Corning, or Red Bluff. Distances to the Wilderness trail heads from the east side vary between 50 to 90 miles from Interstate 5.

Visitors to this Wilderness must expect, on every route, considerable miles of travel over rough and dusty dirt roads. These roads may be quite dusty and are often in use by logging trucks. Be sure to keep to the right side of the road at all times, especially around blind corners.

Access to the Wilderness is possible from early May to late October most years. Only those persons trained and experienced in travel and survival under adverse weather conditions should contemplate wintertime use of the Wilderness. Access to the Wilderness boundaries can be severely hampered in winter by muddy roads and by snow conditions. Many roads are closed during winter. Please check with the closest Ranger Station.


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