Hoover Wilderness

Sharing a boarder with the Yosemite Wilderness along the Sierra crest, the Hoover is widely known for its extreme mountain terrain. The wilderness was first established as a “primitive area” in 1931 and was then protected as wilderness in the 1964 Wilderness Act.

The Hoover has relatively little timber throughout much of its steep terrain. Its forests are composed of scattered groves of hemlock, pine, aspen, and cottonwood. Diverse wildflowers spread over the intermittent meadows found here and black bears are common.

Getting There

The Hoover is easily accessible from its southern end (along Highway 120 near Yosemite’s Tioga Pass entrance station), as well as from various points along its eastern edge near Highway 395. Many hikers pass through this wilderness entering or exiting the Yosemite Wilderness. See the sidebar for public transportation options.


A wilderness permit is required for all overnight trips into the Hoover Wilderness (and proposed additions). (Why?) Trail quotas are in effect from the last Friday in June through September 15.

Permits are issued by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Inyo National Forest; the Inyo manages the southern tip accessible from Tioga Pass along Hwy 120, and Mono Lake, while the majority of the wilderness is managed by the Humbolt-Toiyabe. NOTE: Inyo also issues permits for trails to Lundy and Lakes Canyons accessed from the Mono Lake area. H-TNF issues permits for Twin Lakes and north.

Humbodlt-Toiyabe National Forest

If you plan to enter the wilderness through the Humboldt-Toiyabe, permits are available at the Bridgeport Visitor Center or by mail from March 1 through three weeks prior to the first day of you trip. The rest of the year permits are issued by self-registration at the Bridgeport ranger station – see sidebar for additional Forest Service website links.

Inyo National Forest

For entering on the Inyo, permits are available at all Inyo ranger stations, including the InterAgency Visitor Center in Lone Pine.


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


The Inyo and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests each have a forest order regarding “proper food storage”. They prohibit possessing or storing any food or refuse unless stored in a bear-proof container or in another manner designed to keep bears from gaining access to the food or refuse. In addition to this, bear canisters are required in certain areas within Inyo National Forest.

All Inyo visitor centers rent backpacker bear canisters. Limited numbers are available. Visitor centers also have bear canisters available for sale, as do many local sporting goods stores.

More information about traveling in bear country in Inyo National Forest


Campfires of any kind are not allowed in the following areas of the Hoover wilderness:

  • Above 9,000 feet within the Virginia and Green Creek drainages
  • Within 1/4 mile of Barney and Peeler Lakes
  • In the 20 Lakes Basin (accessed from the Saddlebag trailhead)
  • In the Sawtooth Ridge Area.

In places where fires are allowed, make sure to always follow smart campfire guidelines.


  • Dogs are allowed in the Hoover Wilderness, but are not allowed in wilderness areas in adjacent national parks.
  • Pet food must be stored to the same standard as people food. In areas where use of a bear resistant food storage container is required, pet food must be stored in your container.
  • Leashes protect dogs from becoming lost and from wilderness hazards such as porcupines, mountain lions, and sick, injured or rabid animals.
  • Unleashed dogs may intimidate other hikers and their dogs, depriving them of a peaceful wilderness experience.
  • Unleashed dogs may harass, injure and sometimes kill wildlife.
  • A leashed dog’s keen senses can enhance your awareness of nearby wildlife or other visitors.


  • Whenever possible, camp more than 100 feet away from any lakeshore, stream and trail
  • No camping wtihin 1/4 miles of Barney Lake for more than one consecutive night.
  • No camping within 100 feet of Barney Lake.
  • No camping at Red Lake, Blue Lake or Virginia Lake.
  • No camping in the Hall Natural Area or at Saddlebag Lake.
The Sawtooth Zone
  • No campfires are allowed
  • Maximum group size is 8 persons
  • No camping within 100 yards of established routes

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