Carson-Iceberg Wilderness

Designated wilderness in 1984 and managed today by both the Toiyabe and Stanislaus National Forests, the Carson-Iceberg includes both eastern and western slopes of the Sierra in its 161,181 acres. Though it lacks modern-day glaciers, the effect of glaciation is clear on its “Iceberg” namesake, a distinctive rock formation near Clark Fork Road on the wilderness’s southern boundary. The area is also characterized by a geologic anomaly – a series of volcanic peaks and ridges known as the Dardenelles.

Climbing from 5,000 feet at Donnell Reservoir to the 11,400 foot Sonora Peak, the Carson-Iceberg contains comparatively few lakes but many deep river canyons lush with riparian vegetation. With almost a third of the precipitation of the wetter western slope, eastern plant life of pinon and juniper subsists on 15 inches of water a year with most of that falling as snow. Watersheds feed the Stanislaus River on the western side and the Carson River on the east, sustaining both the threatened Lahontan and sensitive Paiute trout species.

Once the former mountain warfare training grounds of the U.S. Marine Corps, the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness as well as the Carson River draw their names from Kit Carson, one of America’s early western frontiersman. Following his initiative and boldness the first group of emigrants from the East crossed the Sierra in 1841 just north of Sonora Pass.

Inhabited most recently by the Miwok but for over 10,000 years by other native groups, the Carson-Iceberg, has supported human life for thousands of years. Currently the area supports 10 federally monitored grazing allotments. Its stored waters support the agricultural economy of the Central Valley.


The Carson-Iceberg lies between Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass) to the south and Hwy 4 (Ebbetts Pass) to the north, accessible from both. The PCT crosses through this wilderness, running along the Sierra Crest.


The western half of the Carson-Iceberg is managed by the Stanislaus National Forest, while the eastern half is managed by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. There are no quotas for the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, however Permits are required for all overnight trips. Use the links in the sidebar to access the appropriate National Forest for more info.


No more than 15 people and 25 head of stock are allowed on overnight trips. Why?


Proper food storage is required at all times, and bear canisters are recommended. Use the Bear Section on this site to learn more.


Campfires are generally allowed within the Carson-Iceberg wilderness, with a few exceptions. In places where fires are allowed, always follow smart campfire guidelines.


Pets must be kept under control and not allowed to harass wildlife or people.


There are ten grazing allotments (nine cattle, one sheep) in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. Though it may be a surprise to some wilderness users, the Wilderness Act allows grazing to continue where it was an established practice before the area was designated as Wilderness. Grazing management plans specify animal numbers and length of time in each feed area. Gates and drift fences control livestock movement to prevent overgrazing and to reduce conflicts with Wilderness visitors. Please help by keeping gates closed.


Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

Supervisor’s Office
1200 Franklin Way
Sparks, NV 89431
(775) 331-6444
TDD (775) 355-5305

Carson Ranger District
Gary Schiff, District Ranger
1536 S. Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701
(775) 882-2766

Stanislaus National Forest

Supervisor’s Office
19777 Greenley Road
Sonora, CA 95370
(209) 532-3671
FAX (209) 533-1890
TDD (209) 533-0765

Calaveras Ranger District
P.O. Box 500
Hathaway Pines, CA 95233
(209) 795-1381
FAX (209) 795-6849
TDD (209) 795-2854

Summit Ranger District
1 Pinecrest Lake Road
Pinecrest, CA 95364
(209) 965-3434
FAX (209) 965-3372
TDD (209) 965-0488

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