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Marble Mountain Wilderness



Happy Camp Ranger District- The Happy Camp Ranger District represents the north-central portion of the Klamath National Forest and includes portions of the Siskiyou and Marble Mountain Wildernesses.
Salmon River Ranger District- Representing the southwest corner of the Klamath National Forest, the scenic Salmon River Ranger District includes portions of three different wilderness areas.
Scott River Ranger District- Located centrally within the Klamath National Forest, the sprawling Scott River Ranger District is home to dozens of high mountain lakes and scenic trails of all lengths.
Ukonom Ranger District- Located on the west-central edge of the Klamath National Forest, the Ukonom Ranger District offers ample whitewater access to the Salmon River as well as to the Marble Mountain backcountry.

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General Information

Description - Established as a primitive area in 1931, the Marble Mountain area received Wilderness designation in 1953, establishing it as one of the earliest Wilderness areas in California.

The area where the Marble Mountains now exist was once part of a the flat bottom of an ancient, shallow ocean. Millions of years ago, violent volcanic upheavings and the erosive cutting action of rivers and glaciers combined to form the Marble Mountains. Marble Mountain itself is composed primarily of prehistoric marine invertebrates. Almost all the lakes of the Marble Mountains were formed by ancient glacial activity.

The colors of this wilderness area, from the majestic white of Marble Mountain, to the lush green of Morehouse Meadow, to the deep blue of Cliff Lake, interspersed with various hues of sheer rock cliffs and densely timbered mountainsides, provides a spectacle not soon to be forgotten.

The Marble Wilderness features an unparalleled diversity of plant life found nowhere else in the state. This 242,500 acre wilderness area spills over the boundaries of four ranger districts within the Klamath National Forest: the Salmon river, Scott River, Happy Camp, and Ukonom. The area is heavily forested, dotted with meadows, moderately used and easily traveled. Marble Mountain is host to 89 lakes which are stocked with trout. The larger streams have steelhead trout and salmon. Bear, deer, and other wildlife are plentiful. More species of conifers (17) live in proximity here than any place else in the world. These beautiful trees include the Brewer's or Weeping Spruce, Incense Cedar, Dwarf Juniper; White, Subalpine, and Shasta Red Fir; Engelmann Spruce, Western Hemlock, Pacific Yew; and Whitebark, Knobcone, Foxtail, Lodgepole, Sugar, Ponderosa, and Western White Pine. Study up on your cones and needle configurations before you go out, and see how many you can identify!

Attractions - There are ample opportunities for hiking, camping, backpacking, stock packing, and fishing throughout the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Some of the more popular backcountry attractions include the lake areas accessed via the Left Hand and Little North Forks of the Salmon River where trails up Garden Gulch and Devil's Canyon lead to a multitude of fishable lakes and streams. Also popular are the Big Meadows, Back Meadows, Red Rock Valley, and Marble Valley Areas which are easily accessed via the Lover's Camp, Boulder, and Shackleford Trailheads.

Recreation - Horseback riding, hiking, and backpacking are enjoyed on this wilderness area.

Climate - The climate in the Marble Wilderness, as in much of the Klamath National Forest, is greatly influenced by elevation. As throughout California, most of the precipitation comes between November and April in the form of rain at the lower elevations and some wet, heavy snow in the higher elevations. April through October are normally dry, with warm temperatures at the low elevations and moderate temperatures in the higher elevations.

Generally the lakes are free of ice by July, but a few patches of snow may remain along some trails. The weather through the summer is warm and mile, with an occasional brief thundershower. Snowstorms do now usually occur until after October 1 but should be anticipated any time after mid-September. Stock feed must be carried in before July 1.

Location - This wilderness area is located at the heart of the Klamath National Forest of northwestern California. This 242,500 acre wilderness area contains the magnificent Marble Mountains and spills over the boundaries of four ranger districts within the Klamath National Forest: the Salmon River, Scott River, Happy Camp, and Ukonom. The Marble is situated directly west of the towns of Fort Jones, Etna, and Callahan on California Hwy. 3, and west of California Hwy. 96.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Jason Bright (Mill Valley, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: A beautiful place to hike, but the trail between Big Meadows and Shackleford Creek is not maintained, which led to a crazy 2 mile descent down steep terrain with no trail to get back to the trailhead after a 4 day backpacking trip. Steep enough that a game trail was a relief! Had that trail been maintained we would have had a great loop from Shackleford trailhead to Campbell Lake, Lower Sky High Lake, Little Elk Lake, Deep Lake, Upper Wright Lake, and return. Lots of cattle at certain places. Several quite steep ascents/descents, but the views were spectacular. Good fishing at Deep Lake. There are 2 trails into Shadow Lake, only 1 of which was shown on our map, and it was not the one that was signed on the trail. This led to a very steep descent, and then return ascent after we realized where we were.


More Information

Additional Information:
Happy Camp Ranger District - The Happy Camp Ranger District represents the north-central portion of the Klamath National Forest and includes portions of the Siskiyou and Marble Mountain Wildernesses.
Salmon River Ranger District - Representing the southwest corner of the Klamath National Forest, the scenic Salmon River Ranger District includes portions of three different wilderness areas.
Scott River Ranger District - Located centrally within the Klamath National Forest, the sprawling Scott River Ranger District is home to dozens of high mountain lakes and scenic trails of all lengths.
Ukonom Ranger District - Located on the west-central edge of the Klamath National Forest, the Ukonom Ranger District offers ample whitewater access to the Salmon River as well as to the Marble Mountain backcountry.

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