Ansel Adams Wilderness in California

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Ansel Adams Wilderness

Ansel Adams Wilderness is more than 231,000 acres of premiere recreation area, within the Sierra and Inyo National Forests, offering hiking, climbing, camping and much more to the lucky visitor.

  • Ansel Adams Wilderness lies within the Sierra and Inyo National Forests, south of Yosemite
  • Enjoy the alpine meadows, lakes, rugged peaks and steep gorges of this wilderness area
  • Hike portions of John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails through the backcountry
  • Discover exciting technical rock climbing in the Minarets


The Ansel Adams Wilderness Area is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, with Yosemite National Park to the north and northwest and the John Muir Wilderness to the south. Here you can explore beautiful alpine meadows and lakes, the rugged granite peaks, the steep gorges and the headwaters of North and Middle Forks of the San Joaquin River.

Location & Information

Ansel Adams Wilderness CA is easy to access from Yosemite National Park. From Yosemite Valley, take California Highway 140 to Big Oak Flat Road, turning right. Take another right on Tioga Road. You will leave the park via the eastern entrance and take US Highway 395 south to Mammoth Lakes and Devils Postpile, where you can hike into the backcountry. Some trailheads are located along State Route 203, west of Mammoth Mountain resort in the town of Mammoth Lakes.

The best times to visit are from June through October. To see wildflowers blooming, come in July.

Contact information:

Sierra National Forest
1600 Tollhouse Road
Clovis, CA 93611-0532

Inyo National Forest
351 Pacu Lane
Suite 200
Bishop, CA 93514


Ansel Adams Wilderness California has recreational opportunities for the whole family. These are only a few:

  • Hiking
    The Ansel Adams Wilderness contains over 340 miles of hiking trails. Portions of the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail run through the backcountry. There are other off-trail routes you can find in the wilderness, including one along the base of the Ritter Range.
  • Backpacking
    Numerous backpacking adventures await you in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. One that only takes moderate effort is the Agnew Meadows to Ediza Lake Trail. Moving among the Ritter Range offers some spectacular scenery. This out-and-back trail is 14 miles and takes around three days. You can also find the Agnew Meadows to Devils Postpile Trail about seven miles west of Mammoth Lakes, a 21.2-mile trail that is moderately strenuous.
  • Climbing
    Find all manner of technical rock climbing in the Minarets, a popular place with climbers. Some of the favorite locations to climb are the Clyde Minaret at 12,261 feet (considered a classic), the Eichorn Minaret at 12,255 feet, and the Michael Minaret at 12,240 feet.
  • Camping
    To really get up close and personal with the wilderness, there’s nothing like camping out in the backcountry. Some of the most popular spots are Shadow Lake and Lake Ediza.
  • Skiing and Winter Sports
    When visiting the Ansel Adams Wilderness, you are not far from two major ski areas, Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain Ski Area. Take time out to get in some downhill or cross-country skiing adventures.

Fun Facts

The Ansel Adams Wilderness in California was established in 1964 as the Minarets Wilderness, but was renamed 20 years later in honor of Ansel Adams, the famous environmentalist and nature photographer, after his death.