Chimney Peak Recreation Area is a 164 square mile Bureau of Land Management park, located just east of Sequoia National Forest, where guests can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities within primitive and developed settings. Featuring several wilderness areas, campgrounds, and other attractive sites, this BLM property is a Mecca for all kinds of recreation enthusiasts and vacationers.
You will be able to access different parts of the recreation area from Canebrake Road, off California State Route 178, south of the park. Primitive and vehicle camping options are available to guests who wish to spend the night here. Parking facilities are also provided in designated areas. The wilderness areas are not, however, open to the use of vehicles.
There are lots of places to go in this recreation area and plenty of things to do. What you wish to enjoy may influence where you will go here. If you are interested in primitive recreation and solitude, any of the wilderness areas should be your destination. Hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding opportunities are available within the majority of the park. Mountaineering opportunities also abound. Additional recreation such as fishing, boating, kayaking, and winter activities are offered in Sequoia National Forest too.
Chimney Peak Recreation Area lies west of Sequoia National Forest, north of Canebrake, California. The best way to access this Bureau of Land Management recreation area is from California State Route 178 that lies south of the park. if you’re coming from Lake Isabella town, follow the highway east for 30 miles until you arrive at the junction to Canebrake Road. This road will offer you access to most of the sites within the recreation area. Depending on where you intend to visit or stay, you can then choose which turn-off points you will take.
Some parts of the recreation area can also be accessed from US Highway 395 via Sherman Pass Road or 9 Mile Canyon Road, as well as other local routes. If you’re at Sequoia National Forest, it may be possible to also get to some parts of the recreation area too.
The wilderness areas in Chimney Peak Recreation Area are not open to the use of motorized vehicles and other mechanical equipment, so be sure to take note of the wilderness boundaries as you drive around in the area.
Parking spaces are available in different parts of the recreation area, particularly around the campgrounds.
There are no direct public transportation services to this BLM park. However, GreyHound USA and Sequoia Shuttle offer bus services nearby.
RV/trailers rental services are provided around Sequoia National Forest.
Walker Pass Campground sits just off a California State Highway in a beautiful corridor decorated by pinyon pines and a few Joshua trees. This campground features 11 walk-in sites that accommodate tents and two campsites for RVs/trailers. It is a popular resting spot for Pacific Crest Trail hikers.
All the campsites are equipped with a picnic table and fire ring, and horseback riders will find hitching racks and corrals for their horses. Potable water is not available in this campground, so come along with all the water you’ll need.
Recreational opportunities here include horseback riding, hiking, wildlife viewing, and nature photography.
Chimney Creek Campground is a pet-friendly campground within Chimney Peak Recreation Area, located around Owens Peak Wilderness. Tents and RVs are accommodated here as the road to the campground includes spurs to numerous campsites. Reservations are not accepted for the campsites.
There are 36 sites in this campground, all of which are nestled among beautiful pinyon pines. Amenities in the campground include vault toilets and potable water (available during the summer months). Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring.
Campers here can enjoy hiking on Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and Chimney Creek Trail that pass near the campground.
The maximum stay in this campground is 14 days, and vehicles longer than 45 feet cannot be accommodated.
Hunting is a popular activity in Chimney Peak Recreation Area and the nearby Sequoia National Forest. Thanks to the presence of several wilderness areas in this BLM park, plenty of spaces are open to those who fancy going after big game and small game. In addition, hunting sites are also available in the National Forest.
Owens Peak Wilderness is one of the wilderness areas in Chimney Peak Recreation Area that attracts lots of visitors. Featuring Owens Peak, the high point of the Sierra Nevada Mountain, at a height of more than 8,400 feet, this wilderness area is popular for hiking and mountaineering.
The mountainous terrain in the wilderness features expansive canyons that have springs with riparian vegetation. So, flora enthusiasts have lots to see from creosote scrub to yuccas, cacti, cottonwood, oak trees, as well as the juniper-pinyon woodlands that call this wilderness home.
The Pacific Crest Trail is a popular hiking trail that passes through a portion of Chimney Peak Wilderness, making the area frequently visited by campers in the recreation area. Both hikers and horseback riders get to enjoy the opportunity to spend time among pinyon pines along this trail while taking advantage of the prime solitude offered there.
Many guests also fancy the chance to venture up the 7,994 feet high Chimney Peak in this wilderness for spectacular vantage point views of the surrounding area. Hunting is yet another popular sport in this wilderness.
Water-recreation enthusiasts cannot run out of things to do at Sequoia National Forest because of the presence of streams, lakes, ponds, and rivers in its different areas. Whether your interest is motorized boating, non-motorized boating, swimming, or fishing, you’ll find you can knock yourself out here.
The mountain rivers flow all year through the National Forest, so you can catch as many fish as you please. Alternatively, you can explore Lake Isabella on your boat, away from where fish are, if that’s what interests you. Rafters and kayakers too are not left out of the fun!
Winter, often thought of as a time to be indoors, is just the perfect time to spend time in this area. Activities such as sledding, tubing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing provide amazing fun experiences for guests at Sequoia National Forest. With the right gear and skills, you are good to go!
If all you can do is just drive by the park in winter, rest assured you can still enjoy picturesque views from your car window. Just look out along any of the scenic routes such as Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, Sherman Pass Road, Generals Highway, and the Western Divide Highway.
The topography of Sacatar Trail Wilderness in Chimney Peak Recreation Area, with its valleys, canyons, alluvial fans, steep hills, and granite peaks, is an absolute beauty to behold. For this reason, nature lovers enjoying their vacation in this recreation area love to explore the wilderness for sightseeing adventures.
Wildlife viewing opportunities are also available to those who wish to see the animals that live in the wilderness. These faunae which include mule deer, prairie falcons, golden eagles, and doves, can be spotted along the trails in the wilderness.