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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Stallone

Chimney Peak & Kiavah Wilderness Areas

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

We wanted to let you know about two large recreational areas called Chimney Peak and Kiavah Wilderness, that are nearby our Valley, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which are unique recreation features that you may not have explored before. Explore these areas to find pictographs, native American cultural sites like grinding holes, etc.

Latitude/Longitude: 35.82482778, -118.0986639

Chimney Peak Recreation Area includes most of the Bakersfield Field Office's Southern Sierra Recreation sites and Wilderness areas, including Domelands Wilderness, Sacatar Trail Wilderness, Owens Peak Wilderness, Chimney Peak Wilderness, Long Valley Campground, Chimney Creek Campground, Walker Pass Campground, the Owens Peak segment of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, Lamont Peak and other Wilderness trails, and the former Chimney Peak Backcountry byway. The area consists of approximately 105,000 acres stretching from north of California State Highway 178 to the edge of the Field Office near Kennedy Meadows. This rugged section of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains offers a number of excellent opportunities for hiking, bakcpacking, day hiking, horseback riding, and outstanding opportunities for primitive recreation and experiences of solitude and isolation.

Chimney Peak Recreation Area Directions: Follow highway CA-178 approximately 30 miles east of the town of Lake Isabella and turn north onto Canebrake Road. From here, you can access most of the sites within the recreation area, including Chimney Creek Campground, Long Valley Campground, Domelands Wilderness (on your left as you drive up Canebrake Road), Owens Peak Wilderness (on your right as you drive up Canebrake Road), and Chimney Peak Wilderness (on your left on Canebrake Road past the junction with Long Valley Road). For detailed directions to each of these sites, see their individual pages.

Chimney Peak Wilderness encompasses rocky mountainous terrain dominated by pinyon pine with areas of sagebrush. There are scattered springs and streams, with their associated riparian habitat species, and seasonal wildflower displays. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through a portion of this wilderness on its way to the Domelands Wilderness.

Chimney Peak Wilderness Area Directions: Follow highway CA-178 approximately 30 miles east of the town of Lake Isabella and turn north onto Canebrake Road. Follow this graded dirt road approximately 9 miles to the prominent junction of Canebrake and Long Valley/ Chimney Basin Roads. Chimney Peak Wilderness is on the left as you continue down Canebrake Road or the right as you continue onto Long Valley/ Chimney Basin Road. Best on trail access to this Wilderness is approximately 1.6 miles north of this junction on Canebrake Road at a small Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail trailhead.

Latitude/Longitude: 35.60411389, -118.2158417

Directions: Kiavah Wilderness can be accessed via the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail at the Walker Pass Trailhead and Campground. Follow highway CA-178 approximately 9 miles west from the junction of CA-14 or 35 miles east of the town of Lake Isabella. Walker Pass Campground is just west of Walker Pass. From the campground, follow the PCNST southbound into Kiavah Wilderness.

Kiavah Wilderness encompasses the eroded hills, canyons, and bajadas (lower slopes) of the Scodie Mountains and parts of the Sequoia National Forest. A unique mix of plant and animal species occurs within this transition zone between the Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada. Desert plants such as creosote bush, Joshua tree, burrobush, and shadscale may be found in close association with pinyon pine, juniper, canyon oak, and digger/grey pine. The vegetation mosaic over a small geographic area provides habitat for a great diversity of wildlife, including raptors, the yellow-eared pocket mouse, a variety of lizards, and a number of migrant and resident bird species. This scenic wilderness is a favorite destination for hikers and equestrians.

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