image of pine trees & goldpannerEldorado National Forest
(August 2001)

The Eldorado National Forest first became famous by the California gold rush discovery along the American River and later by the legendary Kit Carson who led expeditions across the Sierra Mountain ranges and through the forests.


Today the forest offers visitors hiking trails, fishing holes and camping sites for anyone looking to become one with nature. The Eldorado National Forest is an ideal place for people seeking serenity or an escape from the frenzied lifestyles that are common today.

image of map of Eldorado National Forest El Dorado County is the heart of the most diversified recreational area in California, with approximately one million acres of national forest land. The forest's vegetation consists of chaparral, conifer, fir, and subalpine trees; and elevations vary from 1,620 feet to 10,380 feet.

Gold discovered on the American River triggered the 1849 California Gold Rush. And although you can still pan for gold, the true treasure is the abundant trout in the forest's 620 miles of rivers, streams and reservoirs!

One of the most popular spots in the Eldorado National Forest is Desolation Wilderness. Because of its beauty and accessibility, Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily-used wilderness areas in the United States. There are no buildings or roads in Desolation Wilderness and the 63,960 acre forest is restricted to hikers, horses and llamas. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted. Today, Desolation Wilderness is jointly administered by both the Eldorado National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

In the most Southern part of the Eldorado National forest, another fine hiking area is the 105,165 acre Mokelumne Wilderness which straddles the crest of the central Sierra Nevada. The Mokelumne Wilderness is a rugged landscape of great scenic beauty with volcanic ridges and peaks. The most prominent feature is the rugged Mokelumne River Canyon. Elevations in the Wilderness range from about 3,900 feet to 10,380 feet. Summers here are generally dry and mild, but afternoon thundershowers can occur periodically and nighttime temperatures may dip below freezing any time. Travel is restricted to horseback or foot only .. so this could be quite an adventure!

image of Forest Service logoReference: 
Eldorado National Forest website
The Eldorado National Forest Information Center is located at 3070 Camino Heights Drive. Camino, California 95709. The phone number at the center is 530-644-6048


Georgetown Ranger District:
7600 Wentworth Springs Road, Georgetown, CA 95634, Phone: (530) 333-4312
Pacific Ranger District: 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, CA 95726, Phone: (530) 644-2349
Placerville Ranger District: 4260 Eight Mile Road, Camino, CA 95709, Phone: (530) 644-2324