Ansel Adams Wilderness

Alpine high country hiking, Sierra Nevada mountains, California

Ansel Adams Wilderness Area

Ansel Adams Trail Map, Tom Harrison
Ansel Adams Map, Forest Service USDA


The Ansel Adams Wilderness is an area in the Sierra Nevada of California. The wilderness is part of the Sierra and Inyo National Forests. The wilderness spans 231,533 acres with Yosemite National Park lies to the north and northwest, while the John Muir Wilderness lies to the south.

The wilderness was established as part of the original Wilderness Act in 1964 as the Minarets Wilderness. The 109,500-acre Minarets Wilderness was created by enlarging and renaming the Mount Dana-Minarets Primitive Area.

In 1984, after his death, the area was expanded and renamed in honor of Ansel Adams, well-known environmentalist and nature photographer who is famous for his black and white landscape photographs of the Sierra Nevada.

outdoor recreation –

  • backpacking
  • camping
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • ice climbing
  • lakes
  • mountaineering
  • peaks
  • wildflowers

surrounding forest lands –

nearby towns –

Ansel Adams Wiki
Ansel Adams on Summit Post

Day hikes or overnight backpacking trips require a Wilderness permit and can be obtained at the local ranger station. A good topo map will also prove invaluable on your hike. Access trailheads for Ansel Adams Wilderness from EAST and WESTERN sides of the Sierra Nevada range.

Ansel Adams Trailheads from the west –

Onion Springs Meadow trailhead, Vermillion @ Lake Edison (Sierra NF)

Isberg trailhead & Mammoth trailhead @ Granite Creek Campground via Beasore Road, way behind Bass Lake (Sierra NF)

Isberg Pass trailhead from Yosemite National Park

Ansel Adams Trailheads from the east –

Walker Lake trailhead, near Grant Lake on June Lake Loop (Inyo NF)

Rush Creek / Fern Lake trailhead, near Silver Lake on June Lake Loop (Inyo NF)

Agnew Meadows trailhead & Minaret Vista trailhead, Mammoth Lakes CA (Inyo NF)

Devil’s Postpile trailhead, behind Mammoth Lakes CA (Inyo NF)

Fern Lake Reflection

Fern Lake, day hike from Hwy 158 (June Lake Loop)