east fork little high rock

East Fork High Rock Canyon


With its colorful canyons lined with bright green meadows, the East Fork of High Rock Canyon has welcomed human beings for thousands of years. Today, you can enjoy the scenic vistas that are home to golden eagles, wild horses, and other vibrant life.

Wilderness Reference Map

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About the East Fork High Rock Canyon Wilderness

Covering a broad, volcanic upland in the northern Calico Mountains, the 52,617-acre East Fork High Rock Canyon Wilderness is crisscrossed by the deep drainages of High Rock and East Fork High Rock Canyons (also known as Pole Canyon).

The East Fork is a deep, rim-bound canyon that is surprisingly well watered. While the main vegetation in the area is sagebrush, you will find meadows, willows, chokecherry, a small stand of aspen, and other riparian vegetation on the canyon floor.

To the west, the landscape is a palette of contrasting colors, with its bright green canyon floors and the yellows, reds, browns, grays, and oranges of the 200- to 500-foot deep canyon walls. Big cliffs, steep talus slopes, and short rimrocks, with elevations ranging from 4,900 to 6,600 feet, make this an area of scenic-quality vistas.

If you’re seeking solitude and quiet contemplation, the varied and intricate landscape of this Wilderness offers a remarkable refuge. Day hiking and backpacking opportunities abound.

This Wilderness is also a living history book, with evidence of human use going back thousands of years. You can get outstanding views of the Applegate-Lassen Emigrant Trail from High Rock Canyon, which borders this Wilderness to the south and west. The remains of several Depression-era homesteads can also be seen in the canyon.

The many cliffs, canyons, and rock formations support a wide range of wildlife, from golden eagles and other raptors, to mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and wild horses. Hunting for deer, antelope, bighorn, and chukar is popular in the area.

To minimize human disturbance on nesting raptors and lambing bighorn sheep, the main road into this Wilderness through High Rock Canyon is closed each year from February 1st through the second weekend in May.

Other times of year, a rough jeep trail through High Rock Canyon, which lies outside of the Wilderness, is open to vehicles. If you’re looking for four-wheel driving and mountain biking, you’ll find excellent terrain along the rugged dirt boundaries of the area.

East Fork High Rock Canyon Wildlife

  • Golden Eagle
  • Prairie Falcon
  • Wild Horses
  • Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
  • Zebra-tailed Lizard
  • Great Basin Rattlesnake
  • Gopher Snake
  • Mule Deer
  • Mountain Lion
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Bobcat
  • Desert Cottontail
  • Chukar
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Greater Sage Grouse

How to Get to East Fork High Rock Canyon

This Wilderness is located east of High Rock Canyon about 40 miles southeast of Cedarville, CA.

The main access to the Wilderness is from High Rock Canyon Road, (high clearance 4 wheel drive recommended) which can be reached from Washoe County 8A and the Stevens Camp Road from the north, or from Washoe County Road 34 and the High Rock Lake Road (high clearance 4-wheel drive recommended) from the south.

High Rock Canyon Road is closed each year between the 1st of February until the 2nd weekend in May to minimize human disturbance on nesting raptors and lambing bighorn sheep.