Sited between the North and South Yolla Bolly Mountains, Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness is a wilderness area that sits at an elevation ranging from 2,000 feet to 8,000 feet and features pristine forests as well as beautiful landscapes for memorable outdoor adventures. This BLM park, located 45 miles west of Red Bluff in California, can be accessed by vehicles from different areas via rough and dusty dirt roads off major highways. Vehicles are not allowed within the wilderness.
This BLM wilderness offers lots of fun opportunities, ranging from water-based recreation to exciting adventures and the chance for some peace and quiet if that’s what you seek. Some of the things to do are fishing for trout in the nearby lakes, rivers, and streams; hiking and backpacking; rock climbing and observation; horseback riding; and wildlife/bird viewing. Beautiful plant life decorates the park’s areas too.
Primitive camping opportunities abound in this BLM wilderness in California. There’s also a campground at the trailhead to the wilderness that offers semi-developed camping options for visitors. Modern camping areas that offer cabin rentals, campground camping, dispersed camping, group camping, and RV camping are available at Mendocino National Forest.
Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness lies 45 miles west of Red Bluff, California. This BLM wilderness can be accessed by roads from different sides. Visitors coming from the west can travel along Highways 101 and 162, before branching off on local roads such as Ruth Road and Jones Ridge Road that lead to the wilderness. The eastern boundary of the wilderness is accessible via local roads that branch off Interstate 5 at Red Bluff, Willows and Corning. Expect rough and dusty dirt roads as well as blind corners as you drive to the park. Consequently, four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended.
At Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, the use of motorized vehicles and other mechanical equipment is not allowed. Therefore, as you approach the wilderness area, look out for signs and posts that indicate where the wilderness boundaries are for parking convenience. Navigation within the wilderness is either on foot or on horses. Wheelchairs are allowed within the wilderness.
There are no direct public transportation services to this BLM wilderness.
Green Springs Campground is located in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel wilderness at the trailhead access to the wilderness. This campground is open from March to December (peak season – June) and available for campers of all ages. Tent, equestrian, and vehicle camping opportunities are available within the campground.
The campground offers dispersed and free camping options for guests and provides amenities such as a vault restroom, four campsites with fire rings, and picnic tables. Recreational opportunities at the campground include hiking and backpacking, horseback riding, and nature observation.
The campground can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 24 feet long. Reservations are not accepted.
Hammerhorn Campground is a pet-friendly campground located within Mendocino National Forest and available for campers of all ages. The campground is open from April to December and does not accept reservations. Tent and RV/trailer camping options are provided.
The campground has nine campsites and offers amenities such as vault toilets, potable water, fire rings, picnic tables, and fishing piers. Recreational opportunities at the campground include hiking and backpacking, horseback riding, lake/pond fishing, and non-motorized boating. The campground features a five-acre lake for trout fishing in a mixed conifer setting.
The campground can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 30 feet long. Reservations are not accepted.
Angling enthusiasts are able to bring their interests to life when they visit Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness due to the various fishing opportunities available. A few fishable wilderness lakes are available at the northeastern end of the Mendocino National Forest for rainbow trout and brook trout fishing.
River and stream fishing opportunities are available on the Middle Fork Eel and its tributaries so that anglers can go after juvenile steelhead trout. Fishing regulations are in effect and must be obeyed.
Pack your best hiking boots on your visit to Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness to enjoy the adventure through the wilderness area. If you’d like to visit the beautiful and unique areas in the remote parts of the wilderness, then hiking and backpacking are the activities for you.
There is an extensive and moderate to strenuous trail system in the wilderness that provides access to short loops and extended routes that lie within the park, some of which add up to more than 10 miles. Ensure you have appropriate gear and supplies.
A great way to explore and enjoy the pleasures of the amazing outdoors at Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness is on the back of your horse. The feeling of watching the glorious sunset in the park on horseback brings back memories of rangers and heroes in classic movies.
Plenty of equestrian trailheads and trails are available in the wilderness. What’s more, there’s room for riders to camp with their horses in the wilderness areas within designated campsites.
Visitors at this BLM wilderness that love history lessons and the science behind how this area formed are always thrilled by how this wilderness area came to be. About 150 million years ago, the entire area was below the ocean, before tectonic action caused the area to be exposed. Erosion and other natural processes then led to the formation of landforms.
What’s more, there’s evidence of past glaciation in the nearby North and South Yolla Bolly Mountains too. Nowadays, landslides occur naturally on many creeks, rivers, and steep slopes in the area.
Similar to the rest of the North Coast Range, the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness is rich in wildlife species, making the BLM park a Mecca for wildlife and game enthusiasts. Visitors will come across fauna such as Columbia blacktail deer, wild turkey, black bear, grouse, and gray squirrel casually roaming the park areas.
Other wildlife that calls this park home include bobcats, mountain lions, raccoons, coyotes, and ring-tailed cats. Birds such as turkey vultures, hawks, eagles, and northern spotted owl, are commonly sighted soaring above the wilderness too.
Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness sits within an extensive forest setting that features a wide variety of flora species, providing beautiful backdrops for relaxation, nature observation, and photography. The main flora species in the area are white fir, red fir, sugar pine, ponderosa pine, and incense cedar.
Those less commonly seen, and reserved for the keen observer, include western white pine, juniper, Jeffrey pine, hemlock, and black cottonwood. If you come across foxtail pine and yew, ensure you catalog your find by taking pictures.