Description - Greenhorn Ranger District is part of the southern unit of Sequoia National Forest. The District is divided into three major land holdings, that of the Greenhorn and Piute mountains along with acreage surrounding Lake Isabella. Much as other areas of the Sierra Nevadas, granite domes, striking forests, and cold rush streams have attracted generations of users. Kern River, originating in the high Sierra near Mount Whitney, slices through a major section of the District. Located on the Kern River is one of southern California's major recreation and water resources, Lake Isabella. The lake provides water for irrigation, hydroelectric power, and flood control.
- Sequoia trail users have more than 800 miles of maintained roads and 1,000 miles of forest for their use and enjoyment. More than 1,300 square miles of non-wilderness are open to bicycle use, with some restrictions. The Greenhorn Ranger District provides 9 day use areas. Operating season, group size, handicap accessibility, water and restroom facilities vary.
The Kern River is a tumbling mountain stream originating in the High Sierra near Mount Whitney. Camping, picnicking, fishing, rafting, and kayaking bring thousands to its banks each year. Waters of the Kern, along with other rivers in the area, can be treacherous, as changing water levels, hidden rocks, and swift currents make the rivers unsafe for swimming.
Lake Isabella, the largest in southern California covering more than 17 square miles, offers fishing, boating, water skiing, camping, and picnicking. This reservoir on the Kern River provides water for irrigation, hydroelectric power, flood control, and recreation. It provides both warm and coldwater fisheries for a multitude of fish species including largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, sunfish, catfish, rainbow trout, and has even been stocked with Chinook salmon. The South Fork wildlife area is located adjacent to the lake.
Campgrounds on the Sequoia National Forest and The Giant Sequoia National Monument offer more than 50 developed areas; large motor homes and trailers cannot be accommodated in some campgrounds, and electric and sewer hookups are not available. There are family and group campgrounds, fee and free campsites, first-come, first-served sites, and sites that can be reserved. The camping season is generally from late-May through mid-October, weather permitting. Some campgrounds are open year-round. In addition, almost all National Forest System land is available for you to choose your own camping spot. The Greenhorn Ranger District has 20 family-style campgrounds and 4 group camps.
Lodging is available at Oak Flat Fire Lookout Tower, 4,900' elevation, open year-round, two twin beds, no water or electricity, and fee required. Contact the Greenhorn Ranger Station for details.
Cross-country skiing, snow play and snowmobiling are popular activities in the Forest and Monument during winter months. Specific winter activity areas accessible by highway are found on all the districts. Shirley Meadows offers downhill skiing just south of Greenhorn Summit, off State Highway 155. Snowmobiling is limited to roads in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Many roads in the monument are groomed for this use. For specific information and locations contact the ranger district offices.
Recreation - The Greenhorn Ranger District provides an opportunity to warm and coldwater fish, camp, hike, backpack, mountain bike, sightsee, and more.
Climate - Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation on the Sequoia National Forest. Precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, much of it comes in the form of snow. Winter temperatures well below freezing and summer temperatures above 100 degrees F indicate the normal seasonal spread. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season when venturing into the high country, with clothing that can be layered and ready to peel off or add as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.
Greenhorn Ranger District is part of the southern unit bordered on the north by Hot Springs Ranger District and reaching south almost to Mt. Adelaide, 3,408' elevation. Greenhorn also encompasses area around the Piute Mountains.