Ishi Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

Ishi Wilderness lies within a magnificent setting carved by water and wind action, giving rise to the development of landscapes and features such as canyons, pillar lava formations, and caves. These natural features within this 64.5 square mile Bureau of Land Management park make it a fascinating destination for nature lovers, primitive campers and seekers of solitude. This BLM property also offers the chance to enjoy challenging recreational activities.

Located about 20 miles east of Red Bluff, California, Ishi Wilderness lies within Lassen National Forest, offering opportunities for both backcountry recreation and access to nearby modern and developed recreational facilities. Seven trailheads are present within the wilderness each taking hikers along easy to difficult trails. Diverse flora species are also present within the wilderness area. If you’re a lover of birds, you’ll find lots of them flying over the wilderness too. Picnicking, swimming, boating, and water skiing are available at Lake Almanor. Lassen Volcanic National Park is yet another fascinating place to visit. The adventure never stops at Ishi Wilderness.

Dispersed camping is allowed in the wilderness; however, vehicle campgrounds are found in the national forest’s camping areas.

RV Rentals in Ishi Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Ishi Wilderness lies in the southern Cascade foothills about 20 miles east of Red Bluff, California. This Bureau of Land Management wilderness is bound on all sides by Lassen National Forest and is accessible via local paved and unpaved roads that branch off Highway 32. If you’re driving to the BLM park, ensure you come in high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles that will make it easy for you to negotiate the dirt roads and rough portions of the routes that lead to the park.

Motorized equipment and vehicles used for mechanical transport are not allowed within the wilderness areas. That includes bicycles, motorbikes, off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and other camping vehicles. Wheelchairs are, however, not part of the prohibited equipment. Drawing from this, the main means of navigation in the park is on foot and on horses.

There are plenty of parking spaces within Lassen National Forest for vehicles, cars, and trailers. However, there’s no room to park vehicles in the wilderness. Direct public transportation services to the wilderness are not available.

RV and trailer equipment are available at Lassen Volcanic National Park for visitors and vacationers who wish to camp in developed campgrounds nearby.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Ishi Wilderness

Campsites in Ishi Wilderness

Reservations camping

Lassen National Forest

Lassen National Forest is equipped to serve all kinds of campers and their varied interests. Be it primitive camping options, group camping opportunities, or RV/trailer camping areas, this national forest has every visitor covered, with more than 25 campgrounds distributed across the forest areas.

There are four primitive forest service campgrounds available along the outskirts of Ishi Wilderness – Black Grove Campground; Long Point Campground; Black Rock Campground; and Gaither Camp Campground. Each of these four primitive camping areas is open to the BLM park visitors to enjoy free camping within the forest.

If you’re looking to engage in vehicle camping, opportunities abound at Almanor Ranger District, Eagle Lake Ranger District, and Hat Creek Ranger District within the Lassen National Forest. The developed campgrounds in these districts are equipped with picnic tables, toilets, potable water, parking spaces, and pay stations. Electric, water, and sewer hookups are also available. Some of the campsites are available by reservations, while others are on first-come, first-come served basis only. RVs and trailers up to 178 feet can be accommodated.

Seasonal activities in Ishi Wilderness

Off-Season

Lake Almanor

As one of the largest man-made lakes in the state, Lake Almanor, which lies in a beautiful mountain setting, covers 75 square miles and offers lots of fun opportunities for visitors. Things to do at the lake range from fishing to boating, swimming, water skiing, and picnicking. Visitors can also hike along the Almanor Recreation Trail that passes along the west side of the lake with fascinating views of surrounding mountains, flora, and fauna, as well as the lake itself.

Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake, framed by pine and sage, is the second-largest natural lake in California and is a popular destination for water-based recreation enthusiasts. This lake is a wonderful place to enjoy picnics with family and friends, swim, fish, and boat. The lake areas are equipped with facilities and amenities such as boat launch facilities, showers, laundry, store, and a marina. Also, a seven-mile-long trail offers the chance for hikers and bikers to pursue their interests.

Fishing

Numerous fish species are present at Deer Creek and Mill Creek, so visitors and wilderness explorers can visit any of the two streams to pursue their angling interests.

It is important to note that special fishing regulations are in place for those who wish to fish in both streams. Moreover, a valid California license is required in the park. It’s best to look over the State of California's Fishing Regulations before setting out to angle in the area.

In-Season

Fauna

If you would like to see the largest migratory herd in California, then Ishi Wilderness is the perfect place - visit the wilderness in winter to see the Tehama deer herd within the area.

Other wildlife that are commonly seen on this BLM property are wild hog, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, and coyote. Rabbits also play around within the park’s areas. As most of the wilderness areas are part of the State Game Refuge, hunting activities are not allowed. However, hunting is permitted within selected areas in Lassen National Forest.

Hiking

Hiking is the most popular activity at Ishi Wilderness. Served by seven trailheads, there are plenty of options to choose from as far as pleasure hiking is concerned. Only two of the trailheads do not provide access to either of Mill Creek Canyon and Deer Creek Canyon.

Rancheria Trailhead descends to Mill Creek Canyon’s base and is fun to hike when descending. Devil’s Den Trailhead leads hikers all the way to the Graham pinery. Other trailheads include Table Mountain Trailhead, Mill Creek Trailhead, Lassen Trailhead, Moak Trailhead, and Deer Creek Trailhead.

Bird Viewing

Ishi Wilderness and its surrounding areas are home to different colorful birds that make the park attractive to bird viewing enthusiasts. The rock cliffs in the park serve as nesting sites for a wide variety of birds and raptors such as eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls.

Campers and adventurers in this Bureau of Land Management park also sight wild turkey, mourning doves, quails, canyon wrens and band-tailed pigeons around the wilderness. Myriad songbirds often sing along trails in the park.