National Forest Foundation | Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

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Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

The Humboldt-Toiyabe's spectacular 6.3 million acres makes it the largest Forest in the lower 48 states. The Forest spreads from the eastern Sierra Nevada’s in California to the borders of Idaho, and Utah.

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest manages 18 designated Wilderness Areas. These Wilderness Areas are as diverse as the Forest itself. On the eastern side of the Forest, theQuinn Canyon Wilderness is a maze of deep canyons and rugged peaks reaching to over 10,000 feet. Red volcanic rhyolite composes the lower canyons and gray limestone forms most of the peaks.

To the west, the Mokelumne Wilderness offers diverse beauty ranging from peaks over 11,000 feet high to river canyons hundreds of feet deep. It is known for its volcanic peaks and diverse variety of plants. Some of the peaks are composed of granite that is as old as the dinosaurs.

Many visitors pass through the Mokelumne Wilderness as part of their trek along the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT).

Bordering Yosemite National Park along the Pacific Crest and falling away to the Great Basin to the east, the Hoover Wilderness is a spectacular piece of the Sierras. Soaring peaks, glistening lakes and lush meadows are just some of its awesome spectacles. This Wilderness Area has special considerations for obtaining an overnight camping permit, so plan ahead.

The Jarbidge Wilderness is tucked into the northeast corner of Nevada on the north edge of the Great Basin. Its isolated location makes it very remote. Elevations range from cool desert at approximately 5,000 feet to towering peaks well over 10,000 feet. Approximately 170 miles of trail can be accessed from several trailheads.

To the south, you'll find La Madre Wilderness, which dominates the area with spectacular cliffs and steep canyons occurring on its southeast flanks. The large variation in elevation, 6,000 feet, provides for a variety of plant communities. They range from South Mohave Desert shrub, to juniper-pinyon woodland, to subalpine communities of white fir and ponderosa pine.

The name “Humboldt” comes from the explorer John C. Freemont. He named the East Humboldt Mountain Range and the Humboldt River after German naturalist Baron Alexander von Humboldt. “Toiyabe” is an ancient Shoshone word meaning “mountain.”

Within its 6.3 million acres, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest contains an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 prehistoric and historic archaeological sites. The various types ofheritage resources range from the enigmatic squiggles and curlicues of prehistoric rock art, to the phenomenal mining towns of the 19th century, to Euro-American emigrant trails and roads.

Before you go, check out the trails for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding. There are a number of picnic areas and campgrounds. Many exciting and beautiful areas can be explored on an Off-Highway Vehicle or snowmobile. Click here to learn more.



California, Nevada

Nearest Large Urban Area:

Las Vegas, Reno

Notes & Conditions:

Remember, California State Law requires that your off-highway and over-snow vehicles be registered and the sticker be displayed.

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.


Visit the U.S. Forest Service Map Directory to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.