Arcata Field Office

Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness

Aerial photo of the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel River Wilderness

Location: Located between the North and South Yolla Bolly Mountains in the as-rugged-as-it-comes headwater country of the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Eel River, Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness ranges in elevation from about 2,000 feet to 8,000 feet.

Area Description: This wilderness area is managed cooperatively by both the Mendocino National Forest and the BLM for a total acreage of 180,877. The river crashes wildly through the Wilderness in a deep canyon for approximately six miles, and, combined with sections of the 48 miles of river outside the Wilderness, forms what is arguably California's finest long white-water run. Chamise and manzanita in the lower elevations give way to dense arrays of pine and fir cloaking numerous ridges. Vast grasslands open many of the steep hillsides. Summer wildflowers dramatically color large mountain meadows. Bear and deer populate the area in relative abundance, and September's hunting season brings the most human visitors. Water, unlike solitude, may be hard to find after midsummer. Most of the Wilderness stands on national forestland, but a section on the western side (7,100 acres) is situated on BLM land.

Getting There: There is road access to or near the Wilderness boundary on every side. From the west side, via Highways 101 and 162, you will travel through Covelo, Eel River Work Center, and then north to the Indian Dick area - a total distance from Highway 101 of about 75 miles (three hours travel time.) Access from the west is also possible by the way of Ruth and the Jones Ridge Road through Six Rivers National Forest. Visitors to this Wilderness must expect, on every route, considerable miles of travel over rough and dusty dirt roads. These roads may be quite dusty and are often in use by logging trucks. Be sure to keep to the right side of the road at all times, especially around blind corners.

Additional Information: Signs indicating "Wilderness" and "Closed Road" or "Closed Route" are placed at various intervals.  Vehicles can be parked outside the wilderness boundary; however, the boundary is set back 30 feet from unmaintained dirt roads and 300 feet on paved roads. Mechanized or motorized vehicles are NOT PERMITTED in a wilderness. Hunting, fishing, and non-commercial trapping are allowed under state and local laws. Pet are allowed, but please keep your pets under control at all times. Horses are permitted, however you may be required to carry feed. Removal, disturbance, or attempting to remove archaelogical materials is a felony.  Selling, receiving, purchasing, transporting, exchanging or offering to do so is prohibited by law.

The BLM encourages all travelers exploring public lands, to use propylene glycol based antifreeze/coolant in their touring and recreation vehicles.  Proven safer, it will have minimal impacts on the wildlife and the environment should a leak occur.

Camping: Camping is permitted, limited to 14 days.  After 14 days, campers must relocate at least 25 miles from previous site. Help BLM preserve California's fragile deserts.  Please park your vehicle or set up camp in previously disturbed sites. Gathering wood for campfires, when permitted, is limited to dead and down materials.  Do not cut live vegetation.


Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness


  • BLM Wilderness Map
  • BLM 100K Series Map 
    • Covelo
  • USGS 7.5 Minute Quadrangles
    (Topo Maps) 


Legal Description


Leave No Trace

Know Before You Go 

Wilderness List

National Conservation Lands


Contact Us


Bureau of Land Management
Arcata Field Office
1695 Heindon Road
Arcata, CA 95521-4573
Phone: (707) 825-2300
Fax: (707) 825-2301
Office Hours: 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
Contact us by Email