Kiavah Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

True solitude, exciting recreation and beautiful natural scenery are some of the unique things that visitors and campers enjoy at Kiavah Wilderness, making the BLM park a premier destination for vacations and nature exploration. Located west of Armistead, California, this Bureau of Land Management property can be accessed via State Highways 178 and 14, as well as other local routes. Vehicle use in the wilderness is prohibited.

Recreational opportunities abound at this BLM land in California. Visitors are able to pursue interests ranging from hunting to flora observation, wildlife viewing, hiking, and bird watching. Lake Isabella is a popular destination for additional fun, such as boating, kayaking, fishing, and rafting. If you would like to see more wildlife, then you can take a short trip to South Fork Wildlife Area. Bright Star Wilderness and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks are other places that adventurers visit after experiencing the wilderness.

Dispersed camping is allowed within the wilderness, so ensure you come with all you’ll need. Remember to pack out what you pack in. Recreational vehicle camping is available at Sequoia National Forest.

RV Rentals in Kiavah Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Kiavah Wilderness is a BLM wilderness park located west of Armistead, California and accessible from various areas. If you are coming to the park from the north, your access point via Kelso Valley Road off State Highway 178, west of Inyokern. Access to the wilderness from the east is via State Highway 14 and many other routes that lead to Cow Heaven Canyon, Horse Canyon, Sage Canyon, and Bird Spring Roads. The majority of these roads are designated four-wheel drive only roads, so it is recommended that that be your vehicle of choice.

When you come up to signs that indicate “Wilderness”, “Closed Route” or “Closed Road”, that’s your cue that you are already at the boundary of the wilderness within which the use of motorized equipment and vehicles is prohibited. Parking spaces are available outside the wilderness boundary. Four-wheel drive roads forge into the park areas within non-wilderness areas from the east.

For vacationers and visitors who wish to participate in RV and trailer camping near the wilderness area, equipment rentals are available at Sequoia National Forest.

There are no direct public transportation services to Kaviah Wilderness.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Kiavah Wilderness

Campsites in Kiavah Wilderness

Reservations camping

Lake Isabella / Kern River KOA

Lake Isabella / Kern River KOA is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts who have enjoyed the backcountry adventure at Kiavah Wilderness. This KOA campground features lots of water-based recreational activities, ranging from jet skiing to swimming, boating, windsurfing, and fishing. Miles of trails are also accessible from the campground.

The campground is open between May and October and features RV sites that can accommodate equipment up to 60 feet long. Amenities in the campground include full and partial hookups for RVs/trailers, laundry facilities, playground, showers, and firewood. Wi-Fi is also available.

Reservations are accepted and pets are welcome.

First-come first-served

Walker Pass Campground

Walker Pass Campground is a BLM campground located off State Highway 178, around Kiavah Wilderness. Sitting at 5,000 feet, this campground features pinyon pines and some Joshua trees sitting within a semi-arid setting where campers are treated to amazing views of the Southern Sierras foothills.
There are 11 walk-in sites in the campground suitable for tent campers and trail hikers. Two campsites are also designated for vehicle camping. All the campsites are equipped with fire rings and picnic tables. Equestrians also have hitching racks and corrals for their horses. Come with your own water because potable water is not available in the campground.
All the campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Seasonal activities in Kiavah Wilderness

Off-Season

Hunting

Some of the visitors and nature enthusiasts at Kiavah Wilderness love to hunt and the nearby Sequoia National Forest offers them the opportunity to indulge in this activity. At the national forest, hunting is seasonal and guided by state laws and regulations.

The California State Department of Fish and Wildlife governs hunting seasons within the area. Some of the grasslands and forest areas may be off-limits to hunting, so it is important to check with park rangers to avoid breaking any rules.

Lake Isabella

Lake Isabella, located west of Kiavah Wilderness, is home to a host of exciting recreational activities that keep campers and visitors in the area coming year-round. Whether your interest is hiking, fishing, skiing, windsurfing, or just relaxing, you’ll have plenty of room to enjoy yourself at the lake.


What’s more, there’s an event at the lake for families called the “Whiskey Flat Days” where entire families have fun for four days. The Isabella Lake Fishing Derby is another popular activity at the lake.

South Fork Wildlife Area

South Fork Wildlife Area is one of the last few extensive riparian woodlands in California. This wildlife area is not only home to a wide variety of wildlife that provide viewing, photography and hunting opportunities, but offers recreational activities such as fishing, hiking, and canoeing to visitors who fancy them. Wildlife in the area include beaver, mule deer, coyote, bobcat, and grey fox. Black bear and mountain lion are occasionally seen in the wildlife area too.

In-Season

Flora

Kiavah Wilderness lies within a transition zone between the Sierra Nevada and the Mojave Desert, and so features vegetation and trees found in both ecosystems.
As nature explorers move through the park, they find unusual mixes of creosote bush, burro bush, Joshua tree, and shadscale growing around pinion pine, canyon oak, juniper, and gray pine. Each of these beautifully combines to decorate the park and add to its resplendence. These plants also provide good backgrounds for memorable photos.

Hiking

Hiking trails enter Kiavah Wilderness from all sides, offering a wide variety of options for those who fancy taking a stroll to the different parts of the wilderness.

The Pacific Crest Trail, for example, enters the wilderness from the northeastern end and extends for 16 miles before exiting the wilderness over Bird Spring Pass in the south. Additional hiking and backpacking opportunities are available at Sequoia National Forest, carefully designated for enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Bird Viewing

The varied vegetation of Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada that coexist within Kiavah Wilderness provide habitat for a wide range of migratory birds, including yellow-headed blackbird, rough-legged hawk, gray-crowned rosy finch, and sage sparrow.
Additionally, more than 315 bird species have been identified in the South Fork Wildlife Area. All of these birds combined make this wilderness area a premier destination for bird watchers. Equipped with binoculars and appropriate bird books, the adventure is remarkable.