status of Yolla Bolly Wilderness?

11:22 p.m. on August 4, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey, are any of you familiar with the Yolla Bolly Wilderness and know what state it's in following the mega rash of wildfires in 2008? Is it still worth considering going backpacking in there?

8:42 a.m. on August 5, 2010 (EDT)
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Your use of the word state certainly broadens the meaning of the question to some degree. :-)

9:07 p.m. on August 5, 2010 (EDT)
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haha, good one :)

I guess I should have said "condition" :).

9:14 a.m. on October 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Hmm, sorry to take so long to notice this question about the status of the Yolla Bolly Wilderness.  I took two trips this fall on the west side of the coast ridge divide (Wrights Ridge to Windy Peak) and one on the east side (Ides Cove to Harvey Peak).  Most of the area got burned rather thoroughly in 2008.  I got a colorful map of the 2008 fires from the USFS in Willows but it turned out to be somewhat inaccurate because pockets are burned or unburned where not shown on the fire map.  Anyway, most of the wilderness got burned to some degree, but the open rocky ridges and sparse vegetation made the fire slow down or stop.  Heavy timber looks the most burnt.  Quite frankly, the long views of the Yolla Bollies are not greatly affected by the fire, and the short views are interesting in new ways.  I noticed snags that are thick at the bottom and top but only a few inches at the middle, which simply tells you not to camp near them.  Deer and bear seem more sparse than before the burn and may take many years to recover, but woodpeckers have it made.  Gooseberries dominate the sparse new growth.  Trails had many downed trees but are pretty well cleaned up now.  Check out abandoned trails such as through the Hunter Camp area where Minnie Creek comes into Balm of Gilead Creek, marked only by fading blaze marks on the trees.  Such trails are on old 7.5' topo maps but would not meet modern USFS standards so you are on your own there.  For that matter it is easy to walk off trail where not too steep such as on ridgetops.  Springs are available just off the ridgetops.  Wet areas are still green.  The whole area gets only light use by a few hunters in fall, e.g., no footprints in the middle of the wilderness around Windy Peak even during the deer season opener.  Access is convenient for cars to most trailheads, with paved access on the northwest side from Ruth.  Watch out for huge natural slides in the unstable geology, and do not walk at night without a light because there are weird cracks where you would not expect them.  Favorite areas: Uhl Basin, Black Rock Lake, and Hopkins Peak.  Thomes Pocket on the south side makes a great free car camp with tables under cottonwoods by the creek, and you can explore the trails Cedar-Basin-and-South-Yolla-Bolly-Mountafrom there.  

10:49 p.m. on November 5, 2010 (EDT)
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Bolly, thanks for this detailed response!  I was beginning to think nobody but me cared about the Yolla Bolly Wilderness.

Actually I've only been actually camping there once ... back in 2007 ... but it seemed like it would be a decent alternative to the Sierra during the winter months if I don't feel like dealing with snow and extreme cold. 

I'll have to get back up there and check it out again...

May 24, 2018
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