Ridgecrest Recreation Management Area

Owens Peak Wilderness Area

The Owens Peak Wilderness Area is located in the rugged eastern face of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Owens Peak, the high point of the southern Sierra Nevada's, rises more than 8,400 feet. The mountainous terrain has deep, winding, open and expansive canyons, many which contain springs with extensive riparian vegetation. This is a transition zone between the Great Basin, Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada ecoregions. Vegetation varies considerably, creosote desert scrub on the bajadas, juniper-pinyon woodland with sage brush and digger / grey pine on the upper elevations. Wildlife such as mule deer, golden eagle and prairie falcon are in the area.

With the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) passing through the wilderness, this is an excellent hiking area. Users find trails dropping off the PCT crest ultimately reaching roads beyond the Wilderness. Other recreational opportunities are camping, backpacking and hunting. The ruggedness of this area and the vegetation make for some excellent photographic opportunities.

The signs indicating "Wilderness Area" and "Closed Route" or "Closed Road" are placed at various intervals. Vehicles can be parked outside the wilderness boundary; however, the boundary is set back 30 feet on unmaintained dirt roads, and 300 feet on paved roads. Mechanized or motorized vehicles are NOT PERMITTED in a wilderness area. Hunting, fishing and non-commercial trapping are allowed under state and local laws. Pets are allowed, but please keep your pets under control at all times. Horses are permitted, however, you may be required to carry feed.
Removal, disturbance, or attempting to remove archaeological materials is a felony. Selling, receiving, purchasing, transporting, exchanging, or offering to do so is prohibited by law. Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Please respect the owner and do not use these lands without permission. Camping is permitted, limited to 14 days. After 14 days, campers must relocate at least 25 miles from previous site. Gathering wood for campfires, when permitted, is limited to dead and down materials. Live vegetation can not be cut.


Directions from Ridgecrest, CA: The Owens Peak Wilderness is located in Kern, Tulare and Inyo counties, approximately 15.0 miles northwest of Ridgecrest, California. Access from the south via Canebrake Road (part of the Chimney Peak Back Country Byway), off State Highway 178.

Directions from Inyokern, CA: To reach Owens Peak Wilderness Area from the east travel US 395 north of Inyokern along four-wheel drive recommended routes into Indian Wells Canyon, Short Canyon, Sand Canyon, and No Name Canyon.

Directions from Inyokern, CA: To reach Owens Peak Wilderness Area from the north travel US 395 to Ninemile Canyon Road.